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US-Canada lifting lid on Panama scandal


IT’S TAKEN a long time coming, but US and Canadian authorities may soon be taking action in the Financial Pacific (FP)  brokerage scandal, which has left one person “disappeared” one stabbed and others threatened,while a bunch of insiders with political links linedtheir pockets.

The central figure in investigations by The  US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), is ex-president Ricardo Martinelli reports La Estrella de Panamá.

The SEC which is the financial regulatory and supervisory body responsible for enforcing federal securities laws in the United States, and various US law enforcement agencies are investigating  five possible crimes against Martinelli says a financial source that has participated with the North American authorities in several investigations in Panama, Colombia and Venezuela.

The source said that, in addition to the former president, the former Minister Ricardo Quijano is being investigated and a list of people related to the Financial Pacific brokerage.


Some of the High Spirits group named

Possible imputations include fraud, insider trading (buying and selling stocks with insider or confidential information) and money laundering.

The source indicates that among those investigated are also ‘three Americans and two Canadians’.

The informant , who has also collaborated with the Canadian authorities with financial analysis, commented that “once the investigations are completed, the next step will be to appeal to the US Court to evaluate the considerations and decide if there are enough elements to open a trial of  those named , and there could be ‘confiscation of illegal funds’.

If so, said the source, the accusations or indictments, documents that could be public or kept in reserve (sealed indicments) will be formulated.

The background
After detecting irregular movements in the accounts used in the Financial Pacific securities office, the Superintendency of the Securities Market of Panama (SMV) filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor’s Office for the alleged crimes of money laundering and illicit transfer of funds.

One of the accounts mentioned in the complaint is High Spirit, which is associated with the ex-president Martinelli.


Mayte Pelligrini

The link was discovered after the statements to the 13th Prosecutor  by Mayte Pellegrini, an officer of the FP brokerage who said that ‘at least six times’  she talked by phone to ‘Rica’ Martinelli, son of the former president, who asked Information about the statement, balance and movements of High Spirit.

“Taking advantage of inside information, in addition to High Spirit, were three more accounts for the purchase and sale of shares of the mine Petaquilla Minerals Ltd.,” Pellegrini said.

The use of inside information is a crime known  in the US as insider trading, which is punishable under the federal law of the country.

The La Estrella informant  also cooperated as a financial analyst with the Canadan authorities, of the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE), where the shares of Petaquilla Minerals Ltd. are registered.

According to the specialist, since 2010, two people informed the authorities of Canada and the United States of a series of irregularities that occurred in the purchase and sale of shares of the mine, which led to an investigation to gather evidence and statements.

The inquiries focus, among other things, on what happened at the beginning of Ricardo Martinelli’s government, when he gave the green light to Petaquilla Minerals Ltd.’s subsidiary in Panama, Petaquilla Gold, to export the first gold .


Richard Fifer, released from detention for a criminal court hearing

Although the permit was formalized in December 2009, the company made the announcement to its investors and general public several weeks earlier, on November 18, 2009, after Richard Fifer, the  mine’s manager, held a meeting with Martinelli in September 2009.

In the last paragraph of a letter that was accessed by La Estrella and summarizes the meeting, Fifer thanks Martinelli for the invitation to ‘keep us continuously communicated electronically so that all decisions are consulted with you’.

Juan Manuel Martans, ex-superintendent of the Panama Stock Exchange, told La Estrella  that “market sources point out that there is collaboration from the US authorities in the investigation into the possible crime of insider trading.

Martans says that at the time he was in charge of the institution from April to December 2014, there were suspicions of irregular transactions that were originating in some Financial Pacific accounts.

The former superintendent explains that an investigation was attempted in Panama; But did not thrive because of territorial issues.

“What is the point of conducting an investigation against a Panamanian investor who made insider trading in the United States and whose profit was made  on the US market?” Martans said.

He added that  the ex-official who sent an internal communication to his subordinates to explore the idea of opening a criminal investigation in Panama. Taking into account that the alleged crime was carried out in Toronto, where the shares of Petaquilla. are registered, and not in Panama, it was very difficult to open the process in the isthmus.

With this precedent, the SMV sent  an unsuccessful query to the Toronto Stock Exchange.



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Financial Pacific scandal mocks “persecution” cry

Ricardo Martinelli

EX-PRESIDENT Ricardo Martinelli, his lawyers and supporters continue to claim that criminal investigations into his activities and members of his administration while in office are the result of “political persecution” by the current administration.

But while the wrappings have been pulled from most of the alleged cases of corruption involving Martinelli and others with access to the public treasure chest  since he left office, the infamous Financial Pacific (FP) cauldron was already coming to a slow boil before he left office.

One of the key players is already serving a five-year sentence for his role, in the scandal and he has fingered Martinelli and the  CD  dirty tricks wizard and former tourism boss  Salomon Shammah.

Meanwhile, the SEC in New York and the TSE in Toronto are investigating alleged stock market manipulation via a Martinelli account in Financial Pacific.


Ayu Prado

Another name that could bubble to the surface of the murky corruption stew  is Supreme Court President Jose Ayu Prado, who after being appointed  Attorney General is alleged to have  personally drafted  the retraction of whistleblower Mayte Pelligrini.

So while Martinelli sits in a Miami detention cell, unable to Tweet his persecution mantra The Second Superior Criminal Court  has sent the Supreme Court a copy of the  confession of  the former Superintendent of the Stock Market Superintendency, (SMV) Ignacio Fábrega, asking the court to investigate Martinelli.

In a judgment dated May 15, the court upheld the   5 years sentence imposed on Fábrega For giving confidential information of the SMV to Financial Pacific in 2014, while still in office. Fábrega Resigned on June 30 of that year.


Salomon Shamah

On August 25, 2015, after four and a half months as a fugitive, Fábrega appeared In the  First Criminal Court and pleaded guilty to giving  confidential information to FP. At the hearing, he stated that he acted on instructions from Ricardo Martinelli and Salomon Shamah,

He also stated that he personally delivered to Martinelli a note from the SMV, which said  that Martinelli  was not related to FP’s High Spirit account, supposedly used to manipulate the stock market with Petaquilla Minerals shares.

Martinelli’s relationship with the High Spirit account was denounced for the first time by Former FP employee  Mayte Pellegrini.


Valdes and Clare

In a statement to the Thirteenth Circuit Prosecutor on November 22, 2012, Pellegrini declared that the ex-directors of FP Iván Clare and West Valdés publicly said that the account High Spirit belonged to Martinelli and was open to manipulate the stock market with the Shares of Petaquilla Minerals

(Valdés  is currently in detention for investigation related to the Caja de Ahorros scandal.)

Following the Pelligrini revelations, the SMV filed a complaint about possible corruption after gaining insider information to get economic benefits.

The complaint mentions the participation of Martinelli. The action was admitted by the Supreme Court of Justice on September 25, 2015 reports La Prensa which lists another seven cases being processed by the Court:

Wiretapping; Contracts for the purchase of dehydrated food in 2010, and for the purchase of grains through the former National Assistance Program; The granting of 353 pardons to convicts for common crimes, and for the alleged extortion of the Italian company Impregilo for the construction of the  Veraguas Pediatric Hospital; The Cobranzas del Istmo case and the Caja de Ajhorros.



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Bail revoked for high stakes brokerage boss

Wes Valdes under escort

WEST VALDÉS  founder of the scandal-plagued  former brokerage, Financial Pacific  the center of multiple corruption   investigations  has had his $200,000 bail revoked, by  The Second High Court of Justice.

He  will remain in the El Renacer prison  cell he has occupied since January 24  when he was  when was repatriated from the Dominican Republic where he was celebrating his recent marriage. His former partner is a fugitive.

Valdes is currently under investigation along with a  by now familiar group of former Ricardo Martinelli insiders in a case involving the State savings bank  Caja de Ahorros. for  the alleged commission of a crime against public administration.

Bail had been granted by the Fourteenth Criminal on August 10 but the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor filed an appeal.

But there is sure to be more to come for Valdes as a judge acting as prosecutor in a case involving manipulation of Petaqulla Mines stock from an account called High Spirits at  Financial Pacific, was in Canada recently, seeking assistance from Canadian authorities. The account was opened by ex-president  Ricardo Martinelli according  to evidence from a former brokerage employee.



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Fresh criminal hearing adjourned

Posted on October 2, 2017 in Panama

Defendants leave court
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A HEARING  in a case against failed  Panama brokerage   Financial Pacific(FP)involving 13 defendants was suspended on Tuesday Oct. 2, because one of them had changed lawyers.

The new lawyer for  Carlos Alberto Pellegrini Puertas was not present at the  Second  Criminal Court preliminary hearing and it  was suspended by Judge Esther Maria Bósquez. She set December 18-21 as the new date for the hearing of the case, for alleged crime against the economic order to the detriment of Financial Pacific. The alternative date for the hearing was proposed to be from January 15 to 18 2018.

Most of the people involved in the case were in court.

Financial Pacific is the center of a number of corruption investigations involving the “inner circle”  of ex-President Ricardo Martinelli and Martinelli himself.



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Judge quashes scandal brokerage probe

The FP founders Valdes, and Clare and Pellegrini
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AN INVESTIGATION  into alleged use of insider information by the scandal-ridden Financial Pacific (FP) brokerage with links to alleged stock manipulation has been dismissed.

Baloisa Marquínez, acting as deputy special judge said  “that there is no expert report of a forensic audit that evidences the damage caused, to establish who could be possibly affected and the amount of the injury caused  … Also, there are  no imputed people duly  linked to the fact investigated.”

Marquínez acts as special judge attached to the Seventeenth Criminal Court.  the ruling is dated June 14  But has only now been released.

The Public Ministry had requested that the case be declared complex, but the request was denied by the Court.

The complaint was filed in September 2015 by the Superintendency of  Values (SMV), to investigate how former President Ricardo Martinelli, his children and relatives allegedly manipulated the stock market to obtain benefits with the purchase of Petaquilla Gold shares, through Financial Pacific.

According to the complaint of the SMV, several investment accounts like “High Spirit” managed by FP were used to sell and buy Petaquilla Gold shares, using privileged information, while Martinelli was in office  (2009-2014)  and laws were promoted that favored the mining industry.

Mayte Pellegrini, a former employee of FP, said that in the brokerage opened a secret account called High Spirit linked to the then President Martinelli. to manipulate the stock market with the actions of Petaquilla.



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Smart lawyer or sloppy court?

Kevin Moncada and Mayte Pellegrinii
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THE PRELIMINARY  hearing for the Financial Pacific case, rescheduled for Monday, December 18 was suspended once again leaving observers to question whether it has become another case of manipulation of the justice system by defense lawyers attempting to shield clients or sloppy court work.

Kevin Moncada, attorney for Mayte Pellegrini.filed an Amparo of guarantees for alleged wrongful procedure with the signature of an “Assistant”, instead of a judge . in a resolution issued by the Second Criminal Court.

In the brief, Pellegrini requests – through her lawyer Kevin Moncada – that the resolution be revoked, as it violates due process, as it was adopted by Esther María Bosquez Núñez, who holds the interim position of assistant judge.

According to Pellegrini’s defense, as the judge is not listed as such, everything that has been done is invalid.

The original hearing should have been held on October 2 but was suspended, because Carlos Pellegrini [brother of Mayte] and one of the linked lawyers were not present. Pellegrini alleged at the time, that the court did not notify her brother’s lawyer

The hearing was rescheduled to be held between December 18 and 21. The alternate date would be from January 15 to 18.

Thirteen 13 people are indicted for the alleged commission of a crime against the economic order to the detriment of the Financial Pacific brokerage.



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Death threats for  disappeared  auditor’s son

Daughter son and wife of disappeared man
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Five years after the unsolved disappearance of the man whose investigations first uncovered suspicious activity at the now defunct  Financial Pacific (FP) brokerage, his son has again received death threats.

Vernon Ramos, deputy director of Investigations of the Superintendency of the Panama Stock Market, was near the end of an audit of the scandal-plagued company whose founders and staff are currently the targets of multiple criminal investigations.

In the murky background of the company are allegations of a secret “High Spirit” account of ex-president,  Ricardo Martinelli, used to manipulate shares of Petaquilla mines on the Toronto  and New York Stock markets, a stabbing in Parque Urraca of another investigator, the jailing  following a guilty plea of a former supervisor of   the disappeared man, and the involvement of over a dozen members of the Martinelli inner circle in a fraudulent loan from the Caja de Ahorros which wound up in FP.

Sabina Ho. wife of the disappeared man said on Telemetro that her son Vernon Michael Ramos has received strong death threats through social networks.

She said the latest threat came through the Instagram platform.

Sabina added that it is the second time that they have been victims of this type of threat and with little response from the authorities will take their own steps to trace the sender

Vernon Ramos left his home in Chanis on the afternoon of  November 15, 2012, for a walk. He was dressed in shorts and a sports shirt and has never been seen since. At one time a prisoner in La Joya prison claimed to have knowledge of a murder plot.

The Office of the Prosecutor against Organized Crime reported that it will proceed to investigate the latest threats say   local med



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Bail Deals Appealed  In  High Spirit Laundering Case  

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BAIL  bonds granted   to money laundering suspects linked to the  notorious High Spirit account at the failed Financial Pacific (FP) brokerage by the Seventh Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office

In a January 2, ruling, Judge Felipe Fuentes granted protection from arrest and detention to  Roberto Enrique de La Espriella, Jesús Veleiro Carballeda and Gumersindo García Dominguez, with bail not to be arrested for $10,000 apiece. Teresa Sánchez De Abood, Carlos Javier Osorio Wald, Joshua Absalon Chavez and Mariel Rodriguez Espino got the same deal for $100,000 thousand each.

All are charged for with  money laundering and financial crimes

The prosecution questioned the amount of bail assigned by the judge because it considers them not reasonable with the high sums of money in the High Spirit. account transactions

According to the prosecutor’s office, there were transactions in and out of the account of $1 million, $2.9 million and up to $4 million of monies from alleged financial crimes of the Panamanian securities market system with the appearance of legality.

Among the beneficiaries of the bonds are Roberto De La Espriella, Jesús Veleiro Carballeda partners of the law firm Veleiro, Mihalitsianos & De La Espriella (VM & E), which deposited almost half a million dollars in the High spirit account without justifying the origin of money.

Gumersindo García Dominguez figured as director/president of the account; Teresa Sánchez De Abood and Mariel Rodríguez Espino were compliance officers in FP; Jossue Absalón Chávez and Carlos Javier Osorio Wald had managerial positions.

The prosecution has also laid charges for alleged money laundering and financial crimes against West Valdés and Iván Clare, ex-directors of FP.

In addition, there are charges against Ori Sasson Zbeda, Aaron Mizrachi Malca, Navin Mohan Bhakta, Tse Yum Ling and Miguel Mihalitsianos.

Mizrachi and  Clare have fled the country.



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Probe into  criminal  file found on highway

Court files go public
Post Views: 418
AN INTERNAL disciplinary investigation has been opened in Panama’s Supreme Court after a file containing documents relating to a high profile criminal case were found on a public highway drawing spotlights back to a criminal case with a cast of high profile suspects.

A driver whose car was grazed by a Harley type motorcycle picked up an envelope apparently dropped by the driver of the motorcycle. It contained a file covering the  Financial Pacific  (FP) case and adds one more twist to the tangled story surrounding the failed brokerage, which reads like a TV whodunnit series.

It includes: the sudden disappearance of an auditor who uncovered irregularities; the stabbing of another investigator; a Watergate style  burglary at the FP office; the flight and reappearance of a Brokerage Superintendency manager, now jailed; money laundering; a prisoner claiming knowledge of the murder of the auditor:  a brokerage employee  alleging ex-President Ricardo Martinelli was behind a “High Spirit” account used to manipulate shares of a mining company; allegations that then Attorney General  Ayu Prado  persuaded her to change her story; visits to her detention cell by a Martinelli Minister promising release if she recanted; the appointment of  Ayu Prado to the Supreme Court where he is now president: the disappearnce from Panama of FP’s founders; one turned up in the Domnican Republic  for his higly publicized wedding. He was arrested and is now  in El Renacer Prison, There are two major upcoming criminal trials involving FP and a host of former members of the Martinelli inner circle.

A Supreme Court Judge has visited Toronto seeking support from judicial authorities in the share manipulation thread.

The files, that bring the saga back to front stage were extracted from the Seventh Criminal Court and were, a charge of Judge Felipe Antonio Fuentes López.

On  Wednesday, January 17 in a meeting held by Ayú Prado with the magistrates of the Second Superior Court it was agreed that  Judge Secundino Mendieta current president of the Second Superior Court- will be the “link” in any legal proceeding by the Attorney General’s Office (PGN).

On Tuesday, January 16, the PGN made an inspection in the courtroom, one day after the car driver retrieved the file at Loma Cová. The driver took the documents to the journalist Álvaro Alvarado,  who showed them on the Telemetro News.

Stay  tuned, the series isn’t over yet and  there will be more twists and turns as the main players try to avoid justice



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OPINION: Fresh Scar on Panama’s Rotten  Justice Tree

Post Views: 166
Investigations into what was happening at the Financial Pacific brokerage are plagued with irregularities, mysteries and absurdities.

It is very difficult to follow the track of this judicial circus, that between postponements and delaying tactics is approaching a worrying turning point. Now it is known that part of the original files were extracted from the court that had to guard them. Who knows for what purpose.

A simple accident on a highway has revealed the scope of the rottenness and the complicity of justice.  If a case of such high profile as Financial Pacific is handled with such insouciance it is unthinkable what can be happening with others. It is evident that the Supreme Court needs a makeover.  You cannot expect that from the rotten justice tree healthy fruits will appear.

The result of what happened on this occasion will be the change of judge, the replacement of the file and an audit of what happened.  That is, months of delay, more questions, new doubts and, in

half of it, a single certainty: Financial Pacific will remain a scar on the conscience of the Judicial Body …LA PRENSA  Jan. 18.



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Probe  into criminal case files found on highway

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AN INVESTIGATION has been opened   by the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office of the Attorney General to determine criminal liability over the removal of files from a judge’s office  related to the Financial Pacific investigation,  which involves many key members of the Ricardo Martinelli Inner Circle

The Attorney General has requested an imputation hearing and application of precautionary measures, over the finding of six files relating to the case on a public highway.

The investigation being carried out is related to the possible commission of the crime against the Public Administration and  is intended to determine the criminal liability for the alleged removal of documents that should have been in custody in the judicial office.



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Judge who lost files throws new block on brokerage probe

Valdes and Clare, linked to Martinelli
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FELIPE FUENTES,  the 7th Criminal judge under investigation after seven files related to the defunct brokerage  Financial Pacific (FP), were found on a highway put another block on the case believed to be in the center of  Ricardo Martinelli era corruption.

In a January 25 ruling, Fuentes declared the case complex and confirmed an earlier investigation extension, but warned that it expired on  Dec.14 2017.

Fuentes said that on June 14, 2017, the deadline to investigate, was extended for six months. But he warned that “the prosecution interprets the declaration of complex case grants up to two years to continue investigating, which is incorrect (…) “.

The Seventh Anti-Corruption Prosecutor is investigating 14 people, including Ivan Clare and West Valdés, former directors of the defunct brokerage and those close to them, including Martinelli

. This came is after the Securities  Superintendency asked for an investigation of the use of privileged information through FP (with the High Spirit account), in order to manipulate the stock market for the purchase and sale of shares of Minera Petaquilla.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office was Investigating possible irregularities through the companies High Spirit and Jal Offshore which had accounts in FP and received funds of unknown origin, and allegedly that same money was used to buy shares of Petaquilla Minerals.

The accounts, said the SMV, were linked with the ex-president his family and close friends.



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OPINION: Cornerstone of corruption network

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THE CASE of Financial Pacific (FP) includes insider trading between the regulator and, speculation with the shares of the Minera Petaquilla, company and movements of funds in the cases of the loan of the Caja de Ahorros (Savings Bank) and “New Business”. Also, you have to remember the traces of blood and pain of the dozens of dead and wounded in Changuinola, Colón and San Felix.

It is impossible to forget the mysterious destruction of the company’s computer files.This catalog of horrors paints Financial Pacific as one of the cornerstones of the corruption network of the government of Ricardo Martinelli.

Such a delicate case, which requires sophisticated investigations in several languages and in multiple countries, cannot be subject to the limitations of ordinary justice.

Judge Felipe Fuentes decided on January 25 to declare “complex” the  investigation of the High Spirit case, the core of the FP plot, c but at the same time He noted that the deadline had expired last December. This macabre joke is submerged in a zone of darkness, impunity and shamelessness.

It is very evident that decisions of the Judicial Body increasingly move away from the concept we have of justice. The citizen repudiation of this decision must be forceful, because we have had enough of such impunity.



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Suspended Financial Pacific judge facing criminal probe

Suspended Judge Felipe Fuentes
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A JUDGE  who dropped files of a major criminal case involving ex-president Ricardo Martinelli on a public highway has been suspended from office and is facing criminal charges.

Judge Felipe Fuentes was ordered suspended in a hearing on Thursday, February 1. He was also charged with the alleged commission of crimes against the public administration, by subtracting part of the file of the Financial Pacific case. The documents later appeared on a highway in the Loma Cová sector.

The suspension decision was adopted at the request of anti-corruption prosecutor Aurelio Vásquez.

“Unfortunately, gentlemen journalists, the law forbids me to give interviews and defend myself in the media, “said the judge on arriving  at the accusatory criminal justice system offices in Plaza Ágora,

Accompanied by his lawyer, Fuentes said that he was confident that “the truth will shine “.

The investigation of the case began on January 15, when a citizen went to the headquarters of the Attorney General’s Office, and delivered the Financial Pacific booklets, after finding them on public roads.

The prosecution intends to establish a possible criminal liability for the subtraction of the booklets, which

are part of an investigation originated by a complaint filed by the Superintendency of the Stock Market related to the High Spirit account in  Financial Pacific, reports La Prensa.

In a letter sent on January 18 to the president of the Supreme Court José Ayú Prado, Judge Fuentes said that the files had been taken in  “error”, after an official in his office confused them with the material he was using for his criminal law thesis in The University of Panama.

The magistrates of the Second Superior Court, the hierarchical superiors of Fuentes, have also opened an administrative investigation and ordered a verification of the management of the records in his judicial office.



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Bail upped for failed brokerage suspects

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A Panama court has increased the bail for seven suspects under investigation for alleged financial crimes and money laundering and irregularities in the management of investment accounts in the extinct brokerage  Financial Pacific (FP).

Roberto Enrique De La Espriella, Jesus Veleiro Carballeda, and Gumersindo Garcia had their bail increased the bail upped from $ 50,000 to $100,000 and Teresa Sánchez de Abood, Carlos Javier Osorio Wald, Joshua AbsalomChávez and Mariel Rodríguez Espino the court had their bail raised from $100,000  to $200,000 each

De La Espriella and Carballeda are linked by the prosecution because they were partners in the firm Veleiro, Mihalitsianos & De La Espriella (VM & E), which deposited almost half a million dollars in the High Spirit account -managed by FP and reportedly used  by ex-president Ricardo Martinelli, – without justifying the origin of the money.

Garcia is implicated since as director/president of High Spirit he made the transfer of money. While Sánchez de Abood and Rodríguez Espino are identified in the process because as FP compliance officers they allegedly omitted their duties and did not report to the Superintendence of the Securities Market (SMV) the irregular closure of the High Spirit  account;

Absalón Chávez and Osorio Wald are linked for having been part of the management team of FP.



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18 probed in stock and laundering scam

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The investigation of 18 people linked to money laundering and stock market manipulation all with close ties to ex-president Ricardo Martinelli has been ordered by The Seventh Anti-Corruption Prosecutor.

They face charges of the alleged use of insider information in the Financial Pacific brokerage  (FP) during the last government.


Riccardo Francolini, justice delayed

The prosecutor’s list of former high rollers includes the brokerage founders, West Valdés and  Iván Clare; the former president of the  Board of Directors of the  Caja de Ahorra Savings Bank (CA), Riccardo Francolini;  attorneys Ramses Owens and Joel Watson; former Panama VicePresident Felipe Pipo Virzi; Aaron Mizrachi, brother-in-law of Ricardo Martinelli, and Cristóbal Salerno, of de Cobranzas del Istmo, S.A. (CISA) that in the last government had the exclusive contract to collect the morose portfolio of the State- and his daughter María Alejandra Salerno Gómez.

The prosecutoralso  ordered the investigation of Ori Sasson Zbeda Levy, Mariel Rodríguez Espino, Carlo Javier Osorio Wald, Josue Absalón Chávez, Margie Ángel Cohen, Ramón Carretero Napolitano, Valentín Martínez Vásquez, Solomon Jack Btesh and Harry Nessim.

All are investigated for crime against the economic order, in the form of money laundering.

In 2015, the Superintendency of the Securities Market (SMV) warned the Public Ministry about “Serious behavior that threatened the national economy”. The SMV reported that the High Spirit and Jal Offshore companies, both with FP accounts, received funds of unknown origin, and the money was used to buy Petaquilla Minerals and Inmet Mining shares.

The accounts, said the SMV, would be linked to Martinelli and warned the Public Prosecutor about “serious behavior that threatened the national economy.”

The case was paralyzed, waiting for the prosecution to receive the information requested from Canada, that would reveal who and how they would have benefited from the use of inside information to acquire shares of the company.



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First two held in laundering probe

Posted on April 27, 2018 in Panama

Busy days, long hours at prosecutor's office
 Post Views: 116

The Seventh Anti-Corruption Prosecutor ordered the detention of Salomon Jack Btesh and Valentín Martínez Vásquez in a money-laundering probe of transfers from the investment account of Jal Offshore Ltd. in Financial Pacific  FP).

The arrests came after they surrendered to the prosecution on  Wednesday. Both were taken to the cells of the Judicial Investigation Directorate (DIJ) in Ancón.  Others are expected to join them as the probe develops,

The prosecutor’s office also investigated lawyers Ramsés Owen and Joel Antonio Watson, allegedly linked to Jal Offshore Ltd.,

The prosecutor has also ordered the investigation of a raft of former president  Ricardo Martinelli inner circle members including FP directors: West Valdés and Iván Clare, Ori Sasson Zbeda Levy, Mariel Rodríguez Espino, Carlo Javier Osorio Wald and Josué Absalón Chávéz.


Virzi a central figure in multiple probes

In addition, investigations are in hand for former Vice President Felipe Pipo Virzi Riccardo Francolini, former president of the State Savings Bank’s board of directors; Aaron Mizrachi, brother-in-law of Martinelli ; and to Cristóbal Salerno, from Cobranzas del Istmo, S.A. (CISA) -which  in the past government had the exclusive contract  of the collection of delinquent State taxes- and his daughter María Alejandra Salerno Gómez.

The prosecutor’s office is also investigating Margiel Angel Cohen and Ramón Carretero Napolitano.

In a decision of October 9, 2017, fourteenth criminal judge, Vilma Urieta, agreed to a request from the prosecutor’s office and declared the facts investigated as a case of organized crime and, and granted a one-year term, without prejudice that it could be extended for another year- to complete the investigation of the case.

On May 2, 2017, just when the term granted by the court to complete the investigation of the process expired, the prosecution referred the request to declare the complex case and be granted new deadlines in the process.

In the ruling, the judge specified the transfers received by Jal Offshore Ltd., as well as the payments to third parties made by the company, which were identified in the financial investigation conducted by the SMV, which is the auditor of the Financial Pacific brokerage firm, with  information that the account received “large  sums of money” from Felipe Pipo Virzi, as well as Caribbean Holding Services Ltd .; Langton International Holding, linked to Aaron Mizrachi.

Other investigations of the  FP brokerage in addition to the one related to Jal Offshore Ltd. are underway, with many of the same targets.



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Supreme Court raps stalling lawyers in FP $18 million fraud case

Mayte Pellegrini
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DEFENSE lawyers in one the many cases involving the failed Financial Pacific brokerage have received a verbal rap on the knuckles from Panama’s Supreme Court (CSJ) for stalling tactics that have led to a  preliminary hearing being suspended five times.

At the receiving end of the reprimand are  Kevin Moncada Luna and Zulay Rodríguez,   who are defending Mayte Pellegrini, former Financial Pacific employee.

The plenary of the Court (CSJ) told the pair  Pacific, to “avoid using legal initiatives that seek to delay the normal course of a criminal proceeding “related to an alleged embezzlement of $18 million by. the defunct brokerage

The reprimand is included in a statement released  by the CSJ  on April 30 in which it was reported that the plenary session of the Court  denied an explanation of the sentence issued on April 3 against an appeal for guarantees presented by the defense of Pellegrini against the decision of the Second Criminal Court, setting  May 18 for the next the preliminary hearing of the  case.

In the ruling of the CSJ, which had the endorsement of the magistrates Abel Zamorano, Oydén Ortega,Angela Russo, Asunción Alonso Mojica, Cecilio Cedalise, Hernán de León and Harry Díaz, the lawyers were told  to avoid “actions that conflict with the rules of loyalty and procedural probity with which the parties to this process must be conducted “.

The Court points out that the clarification requested by Pellegrini’s defense is not applicable. because they insist that

The preliminary hearing for this process has been suspended five times: 4 to 7

October 2016; March 6 to 8, 2017; October 2 to 5, 2017; December 18 to 20

2017; January 15 to 18, 2018

In addition to Pellegrini, the Public Ministry has called for the trial of: Carmen Puerta De León, Carlos Alberto Pellegrini, Marjorie Guerrero Rodríguez, Carlos Aníbal De León López, Marcial Antonio García Montiel, Raúl Demetrio Phillips, Hernán Cortez Rodríguez, Arturo Mitchell Donahoue Ortiz, Stefanie Quinn de Donahoue, Vivian Lizbeth Villarreal Andrión, Norman Castrellón Mendoza and Óscar Rodríguez.

Attorney General, Kenia Porcell, warned about the threats of prescription (delays) that exist against the investigation because this month the statute of limitations becomes effective and the birds will flee the coop.



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Cell key takes second turn for jailed brokerage oss

West Valdes
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he Seventh Anti-Corruption Prosecutor  has ordered the preventive detention of West Valdés, founder of  the Financial Pacific (FP), brokerage, but it won’t mean a change of address as he is already being held in El Renacer prison in connection with another case.

Financial Pacific is center stage in numerous criminal probes  involving prominent figures within the Ricardo Martinelli administration, and co-conspirators in the business world.

The latest imposition for Valdés, is  part of the investigations for alleged irregularities in the management of money in the account of the Jal Offshore company, through the  now defunct brokerage.

The decision was communicated  to Valdés on  May  18  at El Renacer  which he has called home  since January 2017,  when he was arrested after returning from the Dominion Republic after his widely publicized marriage.

That detention is in the case of a $9 million  loan awarded by the State bank, Caja de Ahorros (CA) to the consortium HPC Contratas P & V, for the construction of the unfinished Amador  convention  center. At least $ 7 million disbursed by the CA, went through FP  to plug a financial hole.



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Panamanian prosecutor urges trial against defendants for brokerage firm fraud

Sun, 05/20/2018 - 16:15


The Panamanian prosecutor's office requested the trial against 11 out of the 13 accused of allegedly committing a multi-million dollar fraud at the former brokerage firm Panama Financial Pacific (FP), the Panama Judicial Branch (OJ) reported.

Prosecutor Aida Castro made her request during the preliminary hearing conducted by the judge, Johann Barrios, of the Second Criminal Circuit Court, who accepted pursuant to Law to deem if there is merit in the appeal for trial in this case.

The hearing was held against Mayte Del Carmen Pellegrini, Marcial Antonio García Montiel and 11 people, investigated for the alleged commission of the crime against the economic order, for an alleged embezzlement of more than 18 million dollars, to the detriment of the brokerage firm Financial Pacific Inc.

Prosecutor Aida Castro requested trial against Mayte Del Carmen Pellegrini, Carmen Puerta De León, Carlos Alberto Pellegrini Puerta, Marjorie Lizbeth Guerrero Rodríguez, Carlos Anibal De León López and Marcial Antonio Garcia Montiel.

Her petition for a trial appeal also included Raúl Demetrio Phillps Vega, Hernán Cortez Rodríguez, Arturo Mitchell Donahoue Ortiz, Stefanie Quinn De Donahoue and Vivian Lizbeth Villarrreal Andrión.

The accused are linked to the alleged commission of the offense against the economic order, based on an investigation initiated on July 24, 2012 as a result of a complaint filed by the directors of the aforementioned brokerage firm, according to a statement from the OJ.

In addition, the prosecution requested a provisional dismissal for defendants Norman Castrellón Mendoza and Óscar Rodríguez.

According to the prosecution, the investigation established through forensic audit reports of the Institute of Forensic Medicine money transfers by check and wire transfers (ACH), "to persons and companies that did not have any kind of relationship with Financial Pacific Inc., causing a loss of more than 18 million dollars".

These transfers, said the Prosecutor, allegedly were made through fictitious "Money Markets", in order to disguise the missing monies and avoid being detected by internal controls, the OJ said in a statement.

The defense opposed the request made by the Prosecutor’s Office and requested the Court to order a definitive dismissal in favor of its representatives, considering that there is no evidence proving the criminal conduct.

Lawyers Juan Camargo, José Ramiro Fonseca, Kevin Moncada Luna, Sergio Morales, Julio César Pinzón and public defender Rommel Salerno, filed 6 incidents of statute of limitations, claiming that 6 years have passed, so they requested the application of the statute of limitations for the crime.

Judge Johann Barrios rejected these incidents of statute of limitations, and two others of nullity filed by Moncada Luna and Morales, who based their request on the alleged loss of pages of the file, points that were denied by the Court.

This preliminary hearing had been postponed about a half-dozen times, the last on December 12, because the defense representing Mayte Pellegrini, former employee of the brokerage firm, filed a writ of habeas on November 14.

The case dates back to 2012 when two then directors of Financial Pacific, West Valdés and Iván Clare, accused Pellegrini of having committed irregularities in the brokerage firm, which was diluted by the Superintendency of the Stock Market of Panama in 2014 as a result of the financial scandal.



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9 for trial in $18 million fraud

Mate Pellegrini and lawyer
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The Second Criminal Court has opened a criminal case against Mayte Pellegrini, Carlos Pellegrini Puerta, and seven others for the alleged embezzlement of $18 million from the now defunct Financial Pacific securities brokerage. Four other cases were dismissed.

The preliminary hearing of those involved in the case took place on Friday, May 18.

Pellegrini’s defense lawyer, Kevin Moncada, had filed an appeal against the decision of the court not to admit two writs of the statute of limitations in the action.

The case, began in 2012.



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Judge who lost files remains suspended

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A Judge suspended after files containing information about a Financial Pacific (FP)   brokerage case with links to ex-president Ricardo Martinelli were found on a highway, will not be returning to the bench before July.

Judge of Guarantees Kenia Marín – after hearing the defense and prosecution’s arguments – on Monday, May 28,   decided that  Seventh Criminal Judge  Felipe Fuentes will remain separated from office at least until the investigation phase of the case, ends on July 1.

At the hearing, Fuentes’ defense attorney, Leonardo Paul, requested a review the precautionary measures of his client.

Fuentes was separated from his position after he was prosecuted over documents from the Financial Pacific file found by a motorist on the highway in the Loma Cová sector on January 15.

Among the documents are six booklets of the Financial Pacific case, related to the investigation for the alleged use of privileged information to manipulate the stock market through the High Spirit account which Mate Pelligrini, a former manager at the now-defunct brokerage, testified belonged to Martinelli.



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Appeal denied, judge remains suspended

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The Superior Court of Appeals unanimously rejected  as inadmissible, the appeal presented by the seventh criminal judge, Felipe Fuentes, who was separated from his position during an investigation by the Sixth Anti-Corruption Prosecutor for the alleged crime of subtraction of public documents after files in a  high profile corruption case linked to the Financial Pacific  brokerage and Ricardo Martinelli were found lying on a highway.

Fuentes will remain separated from the position, as originally ruled by a judge of guarantees.

The court was formed by magistrates Gladys Moreno(president), Frank Torres and Yiles Pitty.

Víctor Cavada, a lawyer for Fuentes, had requested the appeal, stating that when the investigation term of five months ended  (on July 1), his client’s rights to work, health, social security and the maintenance of his family, and financial expenses were violated.

At Thursday’s hearing, the senior anti-corruption prosecutor, Aurelio Vásquez, called for the rejection of the appeal filed by the defense.



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Criminal court judge called to trial

Suspended seventh criminal judge, Felipe Fuentes,  will face trial on Nov. 21  for the alleged theft of public documents. The Public Ministry has asked for a sentence of 38 months as the main penalty.  Earlier this year files related to an investigation involving the Financial Pacific brokerage and high profile figures in the Ricardo Martinelli era were found scattered on a highway.


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Court upholds detention  order for laundering suspect

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A preventive detention order  against Ori Zbeda the legal representative of Financial Pacific (FP), has been  ratified and declared legal by Panama’s  Supreme Court (CSJ) Zbeda has an arrest warrant issued by the Seventh Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office for money laundering of capital and financial crimes in the handling of $4.4 million in the Jal Offshore FP account.

In the September 11 ruling, the full court rejected a habeas corpus filed by the lawyer of Zbeda, to annul the detention ordered on May 9.

Zbeda is a fugitive who decided to leave the country when he heard of the case against him.

The judges warned that Zbeda is linked to a company that handles “large amounts of money”, to facilitate his evasion.

The Court also denied a habeas corpus to Margie Ángel de Cohen, another of those involved in the Jal Offshore case who has already surrendered and is under country arrest.

The Jal Offshore case remains under investigation by the prosecution and over 20 people are  imputed



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