Panama is open for business: Now with insider trading and stock manipulation!

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The shenanigans of our beloved president Ricardo Martinelli, in his indefatigable drive to promote Panama as a business heaven for financial shysters, have reached yet new levels of - yes, of what exactly?

Here's the brief version. There is this brokerage firm here, Financial Pacific. Financial Pacific is in trouble, because they did shady deals. It started with an investigation into their forex trading. An amount of $9 million had disappeared. That turned into $15 million of funds which were, to use an understatement, unaccounted for.

It then turned out that the Financial Pacific investigation dovetails with the COACECSS investigation, a crooked credit union where regulators have intervened because of irresponsible fund management. COACECSS maintained extensive business relationships with such financial crooks as Monte Friesner and Gilbert Straub. Straub was selling CD's of COACECSS, similar to what Financial Pacific had apparently been doing. Funds placed in these deposits were then systematically "mismanaged" by the COACECSS management, according to the regulators.

Even though this may already sound serious enough, for Panama it isn't really that much out of the ordinary. Bankers and financial hustlers are routinely caught with their fingers in the cookie jar or laundering dirty money, and all one really can say is that at least they make for more colorful scandals than their more sophisticated counterparts up north. Smart people who need serious financial services instead of the isthmian vaudeville had abandoned Panama already long ago.

But that was before Martinelli joined the show. One of the employees of Financial Pacific, one Mayte Pellegrini, resigned and started cooperating with the investigating authorities. And one of the many things she told them - under oath - was that Financial Pacific managed an account for a company called "High Spirit", of which Ricardo Martinelli is the owner. That account was used for trading shares in the controversial Petaquilla open pit gold mine (PTQ), using insider knowledge to make profitable trades and/or manipulate the price of the stock. That is illegal, even in Panama, so naturally the president, his cronies in the public ministry, his governing accomplices and probably even his maid immediately denied any wrongdoing or that Pellegrini had even said anything worth investigating.

The financial regulators, business organizations and stock market principals all demand explanations and investigations to safeguard the integrity, such as it is, of Panama's financial sector. But there won't be any meaningful investigation, because Martinelli won't allow it. What other countries - where PTQ stock is traded - do remains to be seen. Martinelli is already under investigation in Italy for massive corruption in the ever-widening Finmeccanica scandal.

Meanwhile, there are many loose ends. We wonder, for example, if Martinelli's involvement in PTQ trading has anything to do with the fact that the godfather of Petaquilla, the drug dealer Richard Fifer, seems to have moved to Spain?

What to make of a rumor that the equipment purchases of Petaquilla do not jive with the production of that mine?

And will this scandal, as Inca Kola News wonders, be of consequence for the First Quantum attempts to take over Inmet, which earlier this year tried to buy out Petaquilla?

Did, dare we ask, Financial Pacific assist a consortium which includes Petaquilla and Ricardo Martinelli in setting up and maintaining a massive money laundering infrastructure? It would, after all, not be the first time Martinelli and his political operation are caught pumping drug money around.

In other words, our financial sector may be a joke, but Panama can't be beaten where it comes to casino style investment gambling. At least down here you'll have fun losing your money!

6 thoughts on “Panama is open for business: Now with insider trading and stock manipulation!

  1. There is not 1 thing that you could print about Panama that would surprise me. Over the last 5 years I have seen it all.
    Ex president getting a life time kick back for issuing casino operating licenses deposited into his wifes/familes
    corporation.
    Former puta of General Noriega now leading a national political party.
    Spending of Gov. Funds on repairing Panama schools that got paid but never repaired yet everyone knows were the money actually went.
    Openly head hunting Eiseman of LaPrensa news paper for exposing the crooked politicions of Panama particularly Martinelli.
    A completely stacked Supreme court and police force to protect Martinelli and his gang of thieves.
    A head of Education for Panama that probably never completed the 3rd grade but served the needs of Martinelli by keeping the absolutely deplorable education system of Panama on the back burner and out of the spot light.

    • I am of not supporting the Minister of Education here in Panama at all!

      The Fact that Lucy has a college eduction from the overly right wing Catholic university in Pinochet’s Chile is not necessarily along Fascist lines or is it!

      By being a card carrying member of Opus Dei, one must question her true motives and her true political leanings!

      The real truth is that there are now 15 former members of the Fascist Military Drug Cartel government of Noriega now serving within this Criminal Martinelli Cartel Government

      These Individuals among other Politian’s, friends and associates of this Cartel Government have created a very overwhelming real Constructional Crisis, an all too real over the top Legal Crisis by not Implementing, Enforcing, Following, Practicing and Respecting the true legal “Rule of Law” (Civil & Common) and the Panamanian Constitution.

      These so-called tainted officials have always ruled in favor of the Militarists, the drug Cartel, the highest bidder, the ruling Party, their friends and associates.

      Real Guilt or Innocents has never been an issued or ever taken into account in any of these so-called Government actions or legal proceedings only the amount of compensation in the form of property, money, and vantage.

      All these individuals have in common is their wanton aggressive ascendency to control and destroy what does not belong to them.

      These facts and events presented by this criminal cartel psychotic despot Martinelli, his Friends, and Associates making imbecilic remarks against those who see this Fascist government for what it truly is!

    • Yeah, you know, those people who always come up with comments like, “but there’s corruption in Europe/the US/the Galaxy too”, totally miss the point. Panama is so funny because even the corruption is underdeveloped and clumsy, and relatively small-scale compared to what they pull off in more “developed” nations. It’s a kind of a miniature, a scale model society we have here where the Martinellis, Eisenmanns and Varelas and other such mentally disadvantaged oligarchs can play as if they’re a real country, complete with toy newspapers and make-believe “civil society”. The only things real in this place are the Canal and the indigenous people; the rest is just slapstick. Okay, that’s exaggerating, but you get the idea.

  2. Pingback: Key figure in FCP/Petaquilla scandal disappears, oppa Don Martino style | Bananama Republic

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