Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Nobody in Panama seems to want to talk about the relationship between Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli and the sanctioned regime in Iran. The US Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, designated six Panamanian corporations are fronts for the government-owned Iranian maritime transport, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line, or  IRISL. A closer look at those companies is disturbing.

The officers and directors include the president's two sons; the lawyers who formed the companies has long been regarded as the president personal law firm, VM & E. The vessels involved were reportedly previously registered through Isle of Man companies, but were transferred after this became public knowledge. They got new names, and new front companies in Panama.

The question remains: since the president's sons blindly follow his lead, what is the extent of the relationship between President Martinelli and the Government of Iran ? Given that Panamanian corporations are quietly but openly trading with Iran, is it because he has given a green light to such sanctioned commerce ?

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