Thursday, January 5, 2012


We continue to follow developments in the Miami civil case where Lourdes Cajale*, a staff member at an international export firm allegedly repeatedly embezzled funds from her employer, and then hid the funds in accounts in Panama, in what I consider to be the textbook example of how white-collar crime often turns into money laundering.

Here is what has transpired since we last reviewed the case :

(1) A Motion for partial Summary Judgment is pending, and will be heard on 10 January,  2012. Dealing with Ms. Cajale's purported claim for a percentage of the revenues of the company that employed her, a review of the court file indicates that there does not appear to be a factual basis for her claim.

(2) The Magistrate's Report and Recommendation, filed on 18 November, required Ms. Cajale to turn over emails to her. Additionally, she will be ruling on her refusal to respond to specific questions at her deposition. Her counsel has asked for an extension of time to translate the emails. There are unconfirmed reports that she is planning on leaving Florida for Colombia, and permanently moving out of the United States, in January. Should she leave the jurisdiction, and deliberately make herself unavailable for deposition, the court can, and probably will, impose sanctions, which may result in her losing the civil case. Is she seeking to evade something more serious ? We cannot say, but a review of the deposition transcripts of testimony taken so far does not show that she has been questioned about her travels to Beirut.

(3) We are still trying to understand why her attorney of record, in the civil case, is one of the most prominent criminal defence lawyers in Miami. In our last article, we discussed his link to a major Colombian attorney, known for his defence of individuals charged with ties to the Autodefensas, the Paramilitary organisation of Colombia, a designated terrorist group under US law.

An article in the Colombian press*** affirmed that Paramilitary leader Carlos Mario Jiménez Naranjo, who was extradited to the United States on multiple narcotics charges, would be represented by Mr. Diaz. He did not formally appear as attorney of record, and the defendant  later pled guilty to two of the eighteen counts, (the money laundering count was dropped) and received credit for time he spent in Colombian prisons.A subsequent article**** in the Colombian media advised that he had withdrawn from representation of Sr. Jiménez over "conceptual differences." Jiménez was then sentenced to 396 months in Federal Prison**. What was his role in this case ?

Readers of this column will recall that I recently wrote about Sr. Jiménez in an article entitled  Suit Against Colombian Paramilitary Leader in US Court alleges Government Corruption*****,  a civil suit alleging war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture, and extrajudicial killing******.  

We shall continue to monitor this case, until its conclusion; Stay tuned.
* Ms. Cajale, who marital status remains unclear, is a Colombian of Lebanese ancestry who recently became a naturalised American citizen. It is unknown whether the outcome of this case will affect her immigration status, because she reportedly failed to disclose the details during the application process.
** United States vs. Naranjo,  Case No.:  07-cr-20794-CR-JAL (SD FLA).
******Jaramillo vs. Naranjo,  Case No.: 10-cv-21951-EGT (SD FLA). 

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