Sunday, April 19, 2015


Magistrate Judge Benavides
Just when you thought you heard everything about corruption in the court system of Panama, it gets worse.Victor Leonel Benavides Pinilla, a Magistrate Judge at the Supreme Court of Justice of Panama, has been accused of taking money, and of pedophilia. His accuser is his former chief of security, Vicente Zamorano, who is currently imprisoned on kidnapping charges. A videotaped statement, made by Zamorano, has been released to the media in Panama City.

Zamorano alleges that he routinely made large cash deposits on the judge's behalf, which came from interested parties with pending matters at the Supreme Court of Justice. He also states that a large portion of that illicit cash was ultimately spent on homosexual affairs with minors under the age of 15 years. The names of those minors were included in the letter, which Zamorano read during the videotaped statement.

Rumors that sexual favors, of all kinds, were demanded by judges who were asked to fix cases pending before them, have been flying around Panama for years. This was in addition to the payment of large bribes, for the purpose of dismissing, or delaying, cases where the defendants' attorneys wanted justice to be delayed or denied. Any bank accounts, of members of Panama's judiciary, located in the United States or Canada should receive close scrutiny, including historical searches, by bank compliance officers. Frankly, North American banks should consider exiting existing relationships, particularly when the account balances exceed the salaries of the judges maintaining accounts.

Foreign investors, who have been victims of civil cases abruptly dismissed or indefinitely delayed in Panama's court system, should consult with their legal counsel, in the countries where they reside, to determine whether there are any avenues through which they can seek relief, due to damages they suffered at the hands of a broken judicial system.

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