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Margarita Pabon, the Colombian Alma Cortés?

Yesterday the legal counsel of David Murcia's DMG money laundering and Ponzi scheme, Margarita Pabon, was extradited from Colombia to the United States, where she faces charges of money laundering. Murcia himself is already in the US on similar charges, after having been arrested in Panama and first extradited to Colombia.

As soon as the news of Margarita Pabon's extradition became known, the server of the Public Registry in Panama "crashed".

The last time that happened was when president Martinelli's cousin and campaign finance manager Ramón Martinelli was arrested in Mexico on money laundering charges, together with other Martinelli associates.

Insiders in Panama suggest that in both cases panic struck and the corporate registry databases had to be cleaned, in other words, evidence removed or altered that would tie the president to the two drug money laundering cases and the corporate shells used in Panama to facilitate those.

El País, a Costa Rican paper, earlier reported that Martinelli associate and now tourism minister Salamon Shamah served as a conduit for donations to the Martinelli campaign by David Murcia to the tune of $800,000.

The Colombian case - Murcia et al - and the Mexican case - Ramón Martinelli Corro laundering money for the Beltrán Leyva cartel - are connected through Martinelli. Both cases are no doubt receiving the serious attention of US law enforcement. It is unknown what exactly Murcia and Martinelli Corro are telling the authorities, but, with the US government trying to take away spying equipment from the Martinelli administration and a number of other clues, what do YOU think is going on?


  1. Spanked by the right and spanked by the left – but that does not make him “center” does it? this is the most amazing display of self destruction. It is just one thing after the other, rapid fire, noone has the time to catch a breath.

  2. Yes, I heard that the Wall Street Journal will come with scathing articles about Martinelli as well. Some other key figures on the conservative side of things are also very much pissed with Martinelli. He won’t be able to get anything done anymore, watch for loans etc. to dry up amd things like that. It’s over. The problem is that it’s four years to go and no alternative in sight.

  3. Sorry…here is the edited comment!!!

    Let us not, in these dark moments, overlook the seemingly small but important improvements that Martinelli is making.

    I was happy to read that a campesino in Azuero was given two years and a bit in jail for killing a neque. Martinelli approved. Here is a man very serious about protecting the environment.

    Commendably, the newspaper, La Estrella, on the front page yesterday, congratulated the judge on her stiff sentencing. I thought, however, that the paper could have elaborated on the reasons for their beaming approval of the stiff sentencing. Unmentioned in the article is the recent WWF study that has determined that killing a “Dasyprocta leporina” (neque) causes damage to the environment equivalent to 2.4 strip mining operations (as based on one standard “Rio Tinto mine equivalent”).

    Martinelli understands that protecting nature, and at the same time promoting sustainable growth is always a tradeoff. But to err on the side of the environmentalist he has decided that the removal of a serial rodent killer from the environment should allow for only 2 strip mines not the 2.4 as indicated by the WWF recommendations.

    He also correctly notes that killing a neque to eat does not represent a “clear social benefit” to poor campesinos. Having a strip mine to provide the community drinking water with necessary heavy metal and nutritive trace elements however, clearly falls within the realm of “clear social benefit”.

    • He was campaign finance manager and treasurer of Cambio Democratico. There’s even an old case where he funneled money from IDAAN to the party coffers.

  4. “Panama is a funny country,” Harari said. “It’s not really a country. It’s more like a business. I know the . . . storekeeper.” (1983 Mike Harari, Mossad Col.)

    Being more true than ever. 😉 This Mike Harari is by any chance related to the wealthy Harari family in Panama? Feels like too much of a coincidence for it not to be..

  5. Same Hararis. Best buds with Cara de Pina. Helped him with intelligence and repression. They had lot’s of practice with the Palestinians. They got out of Dodge temporarily just before the invasion .

    With Martinelli the quote maybe rewritten…“Panama is a funny country, It’s not really a country. It’s more like a circus. But I know the . . . ringmaster.”

    A little off topic…On Monday we did our seasonal run to the scrap yard to sell our build up scrap. There were four flatbeds of National Police vehicles waiting to be scrapped. About 2/3 of the vehicles were old 90’s silly camouflage painted trucks.

    The other third were late model 2008-2009 Nissan and Toyota pickups in near perfect condition, same silly paint jobs. I asked the foreman what was the story with the new trucks and if he was going to scrap them.

    He said that they bought them as scrap from the national police at $160 a ton for the “lata”. He said that they don’t scrap them because the owners take them home. I calculated that at 3 tons each they cost the company $480. They would be worth about $10-12,000 on the market. There were 5 of them. Not a bad little profit.

    The foreman also volunteered that recently many such mixes of vehicles came from the Policia Nacional and that they must be spending a fortune on their rolling stock.

    Just another cute little example of corruption. Martinelli’s dealership buddies get to sell the government endless new vehicles some of which can replace almost new vehicles which are “scrapped” by his junkyard buddies. Everybody wins, except the tax payer.

    For a supposed right wing astute businessman Martinelli is spending public funds so fast he is putting a blush on the faces of the so called lefties…

  6. When friends and family in Europe ask me to explain Panama to them, I usually say it’s not really a country, but a theme park where they haven’t figured out the theme yet.

  7. @Faustino, thanks for answering my question. I figured as such, but couldn’t find confirmation. Interesting story there btw. Doesn’t Panama get some kind of US aid to maintain a certain security level? Could that be the motivator for this sick behavior?

  8. Eazy,

    Panama is receiving police training from the US. I saw it a while back in Rio Sereno.They receive spy equipment(upon whom to spy is unknown). They are getting new anti drug bases. Okke would know better about other programs.

    The US is remarkably tolerant of all kinds of abusive government behaviour if the regime is right wing, pro-cheap labour, and generally US compliant.

    They are extremely intolerant of governments that they deem to be too left.

    For this reason I think that they will be very lenient with Martinelli. However if he goes too off the rails with obvious drug and or laundering activities then he will start to disrupt the “War on Drugs Broadway Musical” and they will find a way to boot him off the stage.

    The US had a long dysfunctional love affair with Noriega until he started to misbehave and embarrass Daddy Bush. Then they did a nasty surgery on poor old Panama and removed him, at the same time killing a lot of innocent Panamanians.

    I don’t think Martinelli has anywhere near the cunning, manipulative street smarts of Noriega and therefore I think he will “meter la pata” much sooner.

    Let’s hope he spoils the romance earlier than later.

  9. Faustino, sadly I have to agree with you. I was one of those people that had hopes for Martinelli (and Panama for that matter). As a marketing man by devotion I could appreciate his campaign. It showed freshness and intelligence. Non of which were displayed in the last year.

    I have to admit, I didn’t know much about the man. Balbina’s reputation and history on the other hand, I was painstakingly aware of. Sure; I never for a second figured he would turn Panama into paradise overnight. But this mess we’re facing now, I wouldn’t have dreamed up in my wildest nightmare. I never have nightmares, actually. 😉

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