Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Another corrupt minister on his way out of office
Panama's new reformist government has asked the Superintendent of Banking, Alberto Diamond R., to leave office, and indications are that he will do so in December. Diamond, who is closely related to the country's former President, Ricardo Martinelli, and is a partner of Martinelli in certain business ventures. Diamond is believed to have been responsible for the termination of investigations into money laundering allegations against specific Panamanian banks, the Financial Pacific insider trading scandal, and the massive money laundering, conducted in Panama, by the Colombian Ponzi schemer, David Helmut Murcia Guzmán.

There are persistent rumors, in Panama City, that he will be charged with Abuse of Power, as well as multiple acts of corruption. Diamond allegedly diverted civil fines and penalties recovered by his office to his personal use. He cannot be summarily removed by President Varela, due to acts taken by ex-President Martinelli, while he was in office, which effectively prohibit his dismissal. Martinelli has been linked to the country's organized crime syndicate, which controls a number of banks and major corporations. Diamond's family also own interests in Panamanian financial institutions, which is a clear conflict of interest.

Panama's inclusion in the FATF Grey List, and the increasing number of international banks that have chosen to exit Panama, and close their branches, have reportedly occurred due to Diamond's failure to suppress money laundering and terrorist financing in the Panamanian banking system. Recently, Diamond was interviewed, in depth, about his plan to deal with the problems of the Panamanian banking  structure, but his responses were vague, and indicated that he intended that he intended to study the problems,  rather than act to solve them. Unfortunately, most of the problems are of his own making.

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