Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Ignacio Fabrega de Obarrio
Ignacio Fabrega, a senior official at The Superintendency of Securities (Smv), Panama's Securities regulation agency, just recently tendered his resignation, as the country inaugurates its new president. Where is he now ? Working at the offices of Financial Pacific, the broker-dealer that his former agency was charged with investigating, in a massive insider trading scandal, involving some of the country's most powerful public officials, including its newly-departed president, Ricardo Martinelli.

Señor Fabrega has what one might call a "colorful" work history:

(1) He reportedly laundered cash, at Banco Universal, for the convicted Colombian Ponzi schemer, David Eduardo Helmut Murcia Guzmán. You will recall, from our previous articles, that Murcia did business with the American expat, Gary Lundgren. Lundgren is known to have a close relationship with Fabrega .

(2) He owned and operated a pawn shop, that was closed down by the authorities, for fencing stolen firearms and jewelry.

(3) He was arrested, but never prosecuted, when police officers discovered that he was transporting a large shipment of automatic weapons in his private automobile.

(4) According to reliable banking sources, he worked for, and was terminated at, three Panamanian banks, amid allegations of the theft of funds, and fraud. He was never prosecuted on any of these charges, possibly because he is believed to be linked to Panama's powerful organized crime group, many of whose members are of Middle Eastern descent. He is also conveniently related to the partners at one of Panama's largest, and oldest, law firms.

How someone with these "credentials" ever passed the screening procedures for the Secretariat of Securities I cannot say, but in a country where corruption is widespread in government agencies, I expect that he was recommended for the position, by someone whose advice cannot be ignored.

Getting back to our story: the day after Fabrega resigned his government position, he is found at the headquarters of Financial Pacific, a securities firm that reportedly facilitated lucrative insider trading, on behalf of several sitting Panamanian ministers, his close business associate, Gary Lundgren, and Ricardo Martinelli. Apparently, he was offered a position, and he accepted, according to Fabrega's interview in a Panamanian newspaper. How do you say conflict of interest in Español ?

In a government agency where one staff member was stabbed, while en route to inspecting evidence at Financial Pacific, another resigned after receiving death threats, and a whistleblower was imprisoned without trial, one might not want to become affiliated with this company. Perhaps Ignacio Fabrega knows something that we do not.

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