Richard Fifer Carles, in custody in the Republic of Panama, and allegedly personally liable for unpaid corporate taxes and fees, has accused the country's former president, Ricardo Martinelli, of illegally taking control of Fifer's business, the Petaquilla Gold mine, looting it and running it into the ground. This criminal conduct of Martinelli was heretofore not publicly known, but Fifer, a former governer of Coclé, has been denied bond, and he is obviously choosing to tell all about governmental corruption.
Fifer asserts that, when Martinelli's "thugs" ( as he refers to them) seized control of Petaquilla, the company was earning $18m a year, on gross revenues of $60m. Within only a couple of years, all the assets and earnings were gone, and the company, fiscally ruined, was facing bankruptcy. Fifer says he intended Petaquilla to take Panama from its current status as a banana republic, to becoming a golden republic, but Martinelli and his minions destroyed it.
How much money was stolen by Martinelli's agents has not yet been established, but one may assume it will be added to the fugitive ex-president's dozen pending criminal cases. The government has yet to formally seek his extradition from the United States, and some observers believe that, due to his political allies, large war chest to engage attorneys, and possession of incriminating evidence against President Varela, he will never face justice in Panama.
Regular followers of news from Panama will recall that Martinelli already has criminal charges pending against him, for insider trading, in the Petaquilla Gold Mine/Financial Pacific scandal. This new evidence appears to show that he also stole the company's liquid assets, using associates and cabinet members. Will criminal charges be filed against the participants ?