For those readers who have been following the pending extradition case, in the Republic of Panama, involving Vladimir Kokorev, facing money laundering charges in Spain, let me kindly update you on the most recent developments. The case is obviously of great public interest, but there are a number of aspects to the proceedings that deserve attention; Watch out for the vultures overhead.
(1) According to reliable sources close to the defendant, he has denied guilt. Unless there is clear & convincing admissible evidence, he may not be convicted. Some previous complex Spanish corruption cases have suffered from a deficiency in the level of proof offered by prosecutors. Do they have enough to get a conviction ? That remains to be seen.
(2) Mr. Kokorev, who is in poor health, which further deteriorated, when he was abruptly exposed to Panama's brutal, sub-standard prison conditions, is in no condition to be extradited at this time.
(3) The defendant may not ever leave his prison cell alive, for a similar high-profile extradition case, involving the Canadian Arthur Porter, resulted in an extraordinary delay in the proceedings, after which Porter died, while still in Panamanian custody, of terminal cancer. He did not receive adequate medical treatment, and the lack of medical care appeared to be intentional. Will procedural delays block his extradition indefinitely ? Porter's bank accounts were reportedly emptied after his preventable death.
(4) Kokorev is known to have substantial bank accounts in Panama's banks, and those bankers have allegedly told those in command to delay, delay, and delay his extradition. Are they coveting his bank accounts also ? That is unfortunately how business is done in Panama, and since the court system is hopelessly corrupt, claimants may never go to trial on their efforts to collect their money.
(5) One of the businessmen that Kokorev dealt with was the American expat, Gary James Lundgren a/k/a Gary Lundgren. It is Lindgren's method of fraud to purchase real estate for his clients, using a bearer-share Panamanian corporation, and later tricking the client into assigning over all his right, title and interest to the realty. Lundgren's attorney, Alcides Bartolo Peña Villar, pays corrupt notaries to attest to forgeries, and fraudulent documents, and Lundgren takes off with his now former client's property and assets. Will Lundgren steal Kokorev's real estate investments ? He may have already done so.
(6) The power structure in Panama has recently warned local journalists not to print any new articles about Kokorev, or there will be consequences. Clearly, its fraudsters intend to relieve Mr. Kokorev of his wealth.
The deck appears to have already been stacked against Vladimir Kokorev, and his assets appear to be the target of the Panama City vultures who prey upon vulnerable expats. Will he survive ?