Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Sunday, June 5, 2016

PANAMA MORE CONCERNED WITH LOSS OF JOBS AT SANCTIONED COMPANIES THAN SUPPRESSING RAMPANT MONEY LAUNDERING



The President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, has announced the formation of a three-member blue ribbon panel, whose goal is to deal with the potential loss of 5000-6000 jobs, in the wake of the OFAC designation of 68 companies, in the Waked Money Laundering Organization. The government statement focuses solely on the impact of the loss of so many jobs, many in the retail field, in stores, upon Panama, and how this can be addressed.

One of the largest Waked-owned stores is transferring ownership to a trust, to be administered by the National Bank of Panama, other firms in the Waked empire will be looking for ways to license their way, albeit temporarily, out of the crisis. This is not what the Government of Panama should be focusing upon; it is short-sighted, and ignores the fact that widespread money laundering, of narcotics proceeds, is what really drives the country's economy, and it need to be suppressed, lest we ultimately arrive at a narco-state, which will end up being completely blacklisted by the global financial community.

President Varela has made much of his quest to "reform" Panama; perhaps it is time he makes good on his promise, rather than trying to save jobs at companies that are fronts for drug money laundering. 

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