Panama's Superintendent of Banking has taken control of Banco Universal, after the bank arrogantly declined to obey an order, from the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor, freezing accounts estimated to contain over $40m. Not only did the bank refuse to obey the directive, it allowed large transfer of funds to a member of its board of directors, and to others, in clear violation of the governmental order.
|Notice of Intervention
|Former Vice President Virzi
The Superintendent of Banking has taken a giant step towards cleaning up Panama's financial structure, and his actions should be supported. His predecessors were part of the problem but he is now part of the solution. The threshold issue with Panama's reformist government is this: will Panama now formally revoke the charter of a known money laundering bank, with a long and sordid history of criminal behavior, or will it be business as usual with money laundering and terrorist financing in Panama ? Unless a strong enforcement step is taken, Panama's other financial institutions will not fear their government, and continue to move dirty Venezuelan money, Colombian narco-profits, and transfer funds used to support several sanctioned Middle Eastern terrorist organizations. Panama appears to be at a crossroads; will its reform government continue to take off the gloves ? We sincerely hope that it does so.