Saturday, June 15, 2013


NOTE: What follows is the complete text of the article, entitled "When White Collar Crime becomes Money Laundering,"  which Colombian and now Panamanian interests are trying to block from Internet access.

We continue to cover the Miami lawsuit* between an international Brazilian trading company and its former part-time clerk, Lourdes Mercedes Cajale, who is said to have embezzled large sums of money from her employer, and thereafter wired the funds to accounts she controlled in the Republic of Panama, which raises substantial issues of money laundering. To bring our readers up to date:

(1) The General Magistrate has filed her Second Report and Recommendation on Defendant's Motion to Compel Discovery.

 For those readers who have not read the previous articles, and are not familiar with the facts, it is alleged that, after Ms. Cajale's embezzlement from company accounts became known, she slandered both the corporation and its president, by reporting to a Federal law enforcement agency that both the company and its president were involved in doubtful conduct. The company has asserted that there is absolutely no factual basis for her claims, and that it was done solely to distract attention from her criminal activities.

Mrs. Cajale's attorney, Richard Diaz, objected to deposition questions propounded to his client, on the ground that there was a Grand Jury proceeding somewhere, and that, if she disclosed details about her
statements to law enforcement, she might be exposed to "potential prosecution for Obstruction of Justice."

The Magistrate**, in a blistering critique of Cajale's counsel, further found

" Based upon the foregoing, the magistrate has concerns that the Plaintiff's alluding to the threat of criminal prosecution arising from some grand Jury, which may or may not have been convened, on matters related to the Defendant [company] and its president, may be more tactical, i.e. sought to gain an advantage in this civil action, than fact."

In other words, the Magistrate has suggested that Cajale's counsel sought to prejudice the Court against the company, by alleging, but failing to prove, that an ongoing criminal investigation exists. She was obviously not pleased by this tactic.

Additionally, she overruled other objections made to Interrogatories to Parties, which were directed to Ms. Cajale, and directed her to appear again, for the completion of her deposition. Those Interrogatories have now been answered under oath. Finally, I have not found that any objections to the Magistrate's Report have been timely filed by Ms. Cajale's attorney.

(2) the other troubling aspect of this case, which does not appear in the court file, are the links between Cajale, her attorney, Richard Diaz, her common-law husband, Didimo Alvaro Navarro Reyes****,  and the celebrated Colombian criminal defence lawyer, Abelardo de la Espriella, whom we have profiled in earlier articles*****. Colombian media have reported that Sr. Espriella has been under criminal investigation by the Supreme Court of Colombia since 2011, for links to the AUC, and there is also a report of an earlier investigation, from 2010, regarding the fraudulent Colombian investment company, DMG and the AUC.

First, Sr. de la Espriella's legal website lists a Coral Gables, Florida address as one of its branch locations, though he is neither admitted to the Florida Bar as a practising attorney in that state, nor does he hold himself out there as a registered Foreign Law consultant on the law of Colombia. All the lawyers in his office list the Bogota office as their  location. One wonders why a Colombian criminal lawyer lists a Florida office address if he is not practising law there. Individuals not admitted to the practice of law cannot be partners in a law firm composed of Florida attorneys. Curiously, this office is the one and the same as the law firm of Cajale attorney Richard Diaz; there is no separate office listing, nor can any separate entrance be seen.

Second, in a photo appearing in El Heraldo******, Didimo Navarro appears with Sr. de la Espriella, and several other individuals. One of these individuals has a prior money laundering conviction, and others have arrest resords. Criminal defence lawyers are never permitted to fraternise with their clients, nor to perform legal services of a civil nature for them, lest they, wittingly or unwittingly, facilitate future crimes. Is this photograph evidence of an improper relationship ? We cannot say, but our investigation continues.

Third, Didimo Alberto Navarro lived in South Florida during the "Miami Vice" period, but I can find no information on his holding any gainful employment during that time, though he lived in a luxury apartment adjacent to Miami's upscale Brickell Avenue. He then did not enter the United States for a period of seven years, and only began coming to Miami after his wife Lourdes admittedly made statements to law enforcement agencies. Frankly, the only way that could gain entry, given his "colourful" past, is to hold an S-type visa, which is rarely issued, and only to individuals involved in major illicit activities who are assisting law enforcement, and their immediate families.  S visas require ongoing cooperation with law enforcement authorities, especially those that allow multiple entry into the US, as exits by S visa holders are presumed to be granted to allows the holders to engage in continuing activities in their country of origin, generally collecting information about targets, their businesses, and other participants. It  appears that these people have manipulated law enforcement authorities this far, for their own benefit, and that with an S Visa, they may continue to do so.

We are continuing to follow this case, and will report back to our readers again shortly.
*Case No.: 09-64119 CA 15 ( Miami-Dade County Cir. Ct.).
** Dated 25 January, 2012.
*** Report and Recommendation, at 3.
**** I am endeavouring to determine exactly how Sr. Navarro, notwithstanding his background, apparently holds a valid US Visa. It may be in connection with the granting of immunity from prosecution for certain  individuals involved in the Cali Cartel, when the kingpins pled guilty in US District Court in Miami in the early 1990s.
*****When White Collar Crime becomes Money Laundering, Parts One through Four.

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