Panama Porno Producers Behind Shady Cancer Treatment Scheme

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WHEN we first read about a new cancer treatment being offered in and from Panama, we were happy to learn that progress did exist after all in our country. But that was a mistake. Within days after our first inquiries about a website called "Escorpion Azul", we found ourselves surrounded by filth in the form of a group of unscrupulous individuals preying on desperate cancer patients to make a buck or two.

Escorpionazul.com offers online treatment for cancer patients. The treatment, called "escozul", is based on the venom of blue scorpions and is being developed by a Cuban pharmaceutical company, Labiofam. This medication, although still being developed and researched, does exist. But that is about the only thing that is true on the escorpionazul website, which purports to be the Panamanian partner of Labiofam. What they don't say is that the treatment is experimental, has not yet been approved by any authority, and the results are promising but inconclusive.

The site belongs to a Panamanian company called Escorpion Azul, S.A., and they claim to have a medical staff and receive patients in Panama to be treated in its clinic. Cancer patients are invited to fill in an online questionnaire and make their medical records available to this "medical staff", which will then decide how much of the scorpion treatment will be sold and how it should be administered.

Who are behind Escorpion Azul, S.A.?

Obviously we were curious who the doctors on the medical staff are, who the principals of the company are and where its offices and the clinic are located. But no such information is listed on the website. The only name we could find was that of a Dr. Saldana, who is a general practitioner, specilaizes in "family health," and has his consultorio in the Sun Tower building. Nothing is known about his credentials for treating cancer patients.

Soon after we started looking into the mysterious corporation, we received an email from Fred Salaff. Readers of this website will remember that name. Salaff is a US citizen residing in Panama who found himself at the center of a high profile pornography scandal when police raided his house in Veracruz where at that time a porn movie was being recorded. Noriegaville reported about the case. Salaff spent 7 months in prison before being conditionally released, and the trial is scheduled for October 24th of this year in the La Chorrera court.

One would think that someone in Salaff's position would try to stay out of trouble, but as it turns out he is a key figure behind the escorpionazul website. Writes Salaff:

"the work that I am doing with Escozul is very gratifying as patients who have received the blue scorpion venom are very very happy with the results. I quote one from yesterday:

"hi, its tony in s in st..louis from miami the scorpion venom is working very well the tumors hanging out my rectom are half the size its working fast, last night i was rushed to the hospital they put another cathedar in , today im bleeding a lot also the numbers you gave me i lost and email to labiofam can you send them again thanks so i can talk to my doctor in cuba thanks again tony."

However, when pressed for more details about the mysterious company, Salaff became elusive and refused to answer any questions. Asked about their clinic, he first replied that "In Panama, Dr. Saldana has treated patients from Costa Rica who came to Panama because it was more convenient than going to Cuba, in order to obtain the Escozul and to receive medical advice."

But the same day, he wrote us that "No patients in Panama have received treatments and the need for a clinic is not urgent. The fact that this text still exists on the website is due more to oversight than anything sinister. No one asks about coming to Panama (so there was not much to remind that the clinic text should be revised). The people seeking escozul need to have it sent to them."

So, we wondered, was there ever a clinic? No answer. If there was, why has it been closed? No answer. If there is in fact no clinic and never has been, why are patients/clients told that there is a clinic in Panama where medical staff treats patients? No answer. Who are on the medical staff anyway? No answer. Isn't all this talk about clinics and medical staff that apparently do not exist misleading, an attempt to give credibility to this operation? No answer.

"I am not a principal of Escorpion Azul, S.A. I am only their consultant, webmaster and assist in their internet sales," writes Salaff - on the same day that he wrote us how gratifying his work with "happy patients" was. So who are these principals then, because all we could find are some nominee directors? No answer. Whom should I contact with my questions? No answer.

Instead of providing some basic information about Escorpion Azul - we couldn't even get an office address or phone number out of him - Salaff wrote us that "I sincerely hope you keep my name out of this because it could hurt my case. Even though nothing illegal is happening the mere mention of my name in one of your articles could bring much unwanted attention."

Well, we were just thinking that this affair deserves all the attention it can get. A pornography producer facing charges who runs some fly-by-night cancer treatment scheme - how can that not deserve our attention?

Guns, Porn and Scorpion Venom: Ruben Tribaldos III

Let's do some research, then. We searched, we got some tips, we talked to some people, and it soon turned out that the man behind Escorpion Azul S.A. is Ruben Tribaldos III. He is of the family that manages a real estate company and is also connected to the American Gun Shop in Panama City, which is also listed as his office address on his own website.

Tribaldos is a doctor then seeing patients at the shooting range? Someone knowledgeable about cancer? Not exactly. The only experience he appears to have with physical matters is that at the time he started Escorpion Azul, he also owned and managed a pornography site at seevoyeur.com. "Come inside and take a look at thousands of Very Hard Core Amateur Photos updated every day!!!" As Tribaldos, being a good businessman, tried to contain costs on this enterprise, he "borrowed" some pictures that belonged to that other pornography producer, Fred Salaff. The latter protested, and that's how these two got to know each other. They've been working together since.

"Ruben Tribaldos helped me the most while I was in prison. No one else did what he did to make my life bearable as well as organize outside financial help and coordinate my family contacts. I owe Ruben a lot because no one can ever know just how shitty and miserable it is to be a prisoner in Panamanian jails, especially La Joyita, unless they've been there," Fred Salaff wrote us.

Another partner in the Escorpion Azul scheme is one Johnny Sabat. Here's how that, according to Fred Salaff, all sticks together:

"Escorpion Azul does in fact have a contract with Labiofam of Cuba. If you call them they will tell you that Johnny Sabat, as an investor representing Escorpion Azul, SA, donated several thousands of dollars towards lab equipment for research of Escozul. Johnny was given Escozul to bring back from Cuba and give to Escorpion Azul SA to distribute from Panama. Dr. Saldana is a very legitimate doctor who is on the staff of a clinic in Sun Towers. Dr. Saldana is not I believe, a shareholder of Escorpion Azul and was to be paid whenever a patient came to Panama. That was the extent of his involvement. Ruben who has partnered with Sabat on other ventures was asked to be general manager but his other businesses preventing him from devoting a lot of time to Escozul and the business has not been very active.

Johnny Sabat is a very nice, benign fellow who is the owner of Sun Towers and a textile business in the free zone. He travels for many years to Cuba selling textiles. He is a long time trusted partner with Cuba and they are the ones who asked him for his help with Escozul. Dr. Fraga Castro at Labiofam can give you his recommendations about Johnny Sabat as well as for Ruben Tribaldos."

So we started to find out more about this deal with Labiofam. In fact, we found a report from a Canadian supporter of the treatment, Mark Melkonian, who runs a web forum about it. He was to be part of the deal between Labiofam and the Panamanians, but Tribaldos, Sabat and Salaff told him that he could not be a director nor shareholder of a Panamanian company - which is not true at all.

In January of this year, Melkonian went to visit Cuba and Labiofam. About that visit, he wrote:

"For the record and let it be known to all. I am the one who introduced Ruben Tribaldos III and his partner at the time to the Magic of Escozul and also introduced Ruben and his partner to the people at Labiofam when I met them down there in Cuba over a year ago. Before this the Directors of Escorpion Azul knew NOTHING about ESCOZUL!!!!!!!!

The purpose at the time was to introduce honest and sincere people to Labiofam, wanting to provide a service to victims of Cancer with sincere and honest product. There was a need for this at the time and this seemed to be a logical choice of people and location (Panama). The objective here was to set up a Clinic in Panama (for the purpose of administering Escozul under professional medical supervision) and meet with the Directors of Labiofam S.A. in Havana and get an agreement with them to provide bonafide product to the masses at affordable prices. As a matter of fact I was the one who wrote the English script which is currently being used on your Site of Escorpion Azul, for no monetary compensation whatsoever!

I was there with the principles of Escorpion Azul S.A. in Havana when they met with Labiofam and came to an agreement in principle about the distribution of Escozul to North America and the Latin America’s. In principle a deal was struck back at the beginning of 2005 between Labiofam S.A. and Escorpion Azul S.A. for the exclusivity of this product in the above mentioned markets for an investment in chemicals and equipment to be supplied by Escorpion Azul S.A. In fact the agreement does not specifically stipulate “Escozul” as being the product of exclusivity granted by Labiofam to Escorpion Azul. They were unable to do this because Escozul had not yet been certified and to my knowledge has not yet been certified by Labiofam in Cuba and therefore has no right to give out exclusivity of this product to anyone, until such a time that it becomes a certified product under Cuban law. [b](This will not happen until the Clinical studies have been concluded at the I.P.K. in Havana which at best is still a couple of years from completion, as indicated to me by the Directors of Labiofam who are in charge of this study!) What Labiofam did instead, is to specify other products in the agreement that are certified for distribution and use those products in fact as the basis of this exclusivity agreement. However, Labiofam told the Directors of Escorpion Azul at the time that they would verbally honour Escozul to them as long as the agreement was respected!!!

Now this is the point in contention. Escorpion Azul S.A. has NOT respected the agreement between Labiofam and themselves, according to information I have received from a Director at Labiofam during my trip to the Island in January of 2006. I was told quite sincerely that Labiofam S.A. no longer considered the agreement valid as they had not received the Chemicals and Equipment promised and other parts of the agreement that were not respected. They had not heard from Escorpion Azul for many months and asked me if I knew what was going on, which I did not know! However, bottom line, the people of Labiofam, including the President Dr. Fraga Castro, were of the opinion that there was no longer a valid agreement between the two entitiesBecause of the actions or should I say lack of."

This information was later confirmed to us. At Labiofam, they don't want nothing to do anymore with Tribaldos nor Sabat.

That of course begs the question: If they're not buying product in Cuba, what is it that they are selling to these "happy patients", one of which was quoted from an email of "yesterday"? We asked that to Salaff as well as Ruben Tribaldos, but did not receive a reply.

Similarly, under Panamanian law, health products, beauty products and food supplements like vitamins and the like, need to be tested and approved by the Ministry of Health in Panama before they can be sold in the country. Has that been done in the case of Escorpion Azul? "I don't know of any documents," Salaff responded. We asked, and found that the Ministry of Health doesn't know about any documents either.

Yet, on May 12th of this year, under the pen name "Bernard Campo," Tribaldos and Salaff claimed publicly that "Escorpion Azul, S.A. has been shipping Escozul to cancer patients and seeing patients in Panama. Despite what Mark Melkonian states on this forum Escorpion Azul, S.A. maintains excellent relations with Labiofam in Cuba," the imaginary "Bernard Campo" wrote (using pen names to hide identities is common among scammers and swindlers; on a press release found at PRweb, the author is listed as one "Frank Selfast", with Fred Salaff's phone number and his company Rio Bueno Ltd.).

And "Bernard Campo" added: "Escorpion Azul receives it Escozul directly from Labiofam and is in the latest form - the hermetically sealed and precisely dosed vials. This is a fact!"

Fact? These are the facts about Escorpion Azul S.A. and its people, Ruben Tribaldos III, Fred Salaff and Johnny Sabat:

• They claim on their website that they have a clinic and a medical staff in Panama, which is not true. After we asked questions about it, Salaff hurried to change the contents of the website, but not before we saved each and every page of it to document the bogus claims.

• They ask patients to fill out an online questionnaire and file medical records with them. Since no doctors work for them as they do not have a medical staff, one must assume that patients are actually sending sensitive medical information to a bunch of porno producers who are playing doctor.

• They claim to be importing and selling Escozul treatment in vials from Cuba to Panama where it is sold and being administered, but the poison has not been tested and approved by the Ministry of Health and can thus not legally be imported or sold here.

• Escorpion Azul S.A. is in reality an online pharmacy masquerading as a clinic, research and treatment facility. They're preying on cancer patients desperate enough to buy this stuff from them, and nobody even knows if what they are selling is actually the experimental medicine from Cuba. Worse, still, since Labiofam denies that they're selling anything to Tribaldos and Salaff, we must assume that they are selling some other product instead.

As said, we tried to get answers to our questions from Ruben Tribaldos and Fred Salaff, but were met with evasiveness and a deafening silence.

UPDATE: We spoke with Mr. Tribaldos when he contacted us after publication of this article. And although he did not wish to formally use his right to reply as established in Panamanian law, we'd like to make some points he made known to our readers:

1. Tribaldos told us that he had left marketing, internet and sales of Escorpion Azul, S.A. to Mr. Fred Salaff because he wanted to help him and Salaff would be knowledgeable about these matters. However, Mr. Tribaldos claims that he has been unhappy with the way Salaff went about his work. "He was selling it as if he was selling used cars," Tribaldos told us. Thus, Tribaldos denies any responsibility for the contents of the website and any other sales material.

2. Mr. Tribaldos also told us that he had cut all business ties with Fred Salaff.

3. Then, Tribaldos informed us that Mark Malkonian, who is mentioned in the article, is in fact the president of Escorpion Azul, S.A., despite his own claim that he was told that he could not formally be part of the company. A new search in the Public Registry confirmed that Tribaldos is right about this, and Noriegaville stands corrected on this issue. The statements by Mr. Malkonian quoted in this article should thus be read as coming from the president of Escorpion Azul, S.A. The president is also listed as the legal respresentative of the company.

4. Mr. Tribaldos rejected being called a "porn producer", but could not refute (and in fact confirmed) what we published about his involvement with an adult website "seevoyeur.com" at the time Escorpion Azul was started. Seevoyeur.com has since been sold to a third party.

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