Alberto Diamond R., the departing* Superintendent of Banking of the Republic of Panama, who is being turned out of office for allowing rampant money laundering and terrorist financing among the banks he was charged with regulating, has made a pathetic attempt to salvage his reputation. Sr. Diamond has belatedly sanctioned fifteen Panamanian banks that he has indicated are involved in taking money, in violation of Customer Identification Procedures, and for failing to control deposits of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs).
The civil penalty he will be imposing, which is stated will be a monetary fine between $5000 and $1m, is said to be, in truth and in fact, no more than the $5000 minimum per bank. To say that his actions, or lack of them, have been a direct insult to the international financial community, is a gross understatement. Diamond has allowed money laundering to become the norm, rather than the exception, at virtually all of Panama's domestic and international banks, and he is said to have directly benefited from his inaction as a regulator.
Panama which was rated as "high risk" for money laundering on the 2014 Basel Anti-Money Laundering List, did not charge, let alone convict, any financial institution of money laundering, during Diamond's tenancy at the banking agency. Will Diamond be charged with official misconduct ? Did he accept bribes from Panama's banks to ignore their money laundering activities, as has been alleged ? We trust that the new government will investigate every aspect of this individual's actions while in office.
* Alberto Diamond was due to depart his position on December 31, 2014, but remains in office, since his successor has not yet been appointed. This neglect, on the part of the new reformist Varela government, has no excuse.