The story about how the Malibu Beach project of arms trafficker Marco Shrem lost $4 million of client funds to criminal developer Econoplade, as scam pimp Don Winner spins it on Shrem's behalf, can not possibly be true. Here's what Winner recently wrote on his website:
For the record I'm still working for Marco Shrem as a consultant and to help him promote the resurrection of the Malibu project. If you will remember, Marco Shrem was basically the victim of a fraud committed against him and his company by another Panamanian real estate development company called Econoplade. In the original deal for the first Malibu project, Marco Shrem was to put up the land for the development and the Econoplade company was supposed to do everything else. Meaning, they were responsible for promotion, advertising, signing the contracts, handling the money and deposits, building the infrastructure and houses, and delivering those to the customers, etc. The land underneath the project (owned by Marco) would not be legally turned over to the buyer until the new owner actually took paid for and took receipt of the newly constructed house in the Malibu project. However in fact Econoplade received a total of about $8 million dollars in deposits from about 400 sales contracts. They spent about $4 million on the project (roads, underground "invisible" infrastructure such as electrical and plumbing), and the other $4 million dollars they basically "misappropriated" - meaning, they stole the money. The whole Econoplade company melted down and the local Panamanian lawyers descended on the carcass. When all was said and done, Marco Shrem was left holding the bag for the disaster left behind by the collapse of Econoplade - and in short he had been ripped off - the victim of a $4 million dollar scam perpetuated by Econoplade. And, there was nothing left of Econoplade of any real value worth going after legally.
Marco Shrem Did Not Steal The Money: Most importantly - and this is critically important for everyone to know and understand - Marco Shrem did not steal the money. He did not receive those deposits taken in by Econoplade on the original 400 contracts they signed for the Malibu project. In fact, Marco Shrem did not have any legal responsibility to repay those deposits, either. In short, Marco is going to sell a parcel of land and return those deposits even though he is not legally obligated in any way to do so. One person tried to sue him in a Panamanian court and the case was summarily thrown out. Marco Shrem is doing this because it's simply the right thing to do - and he's getting almost no credit for it, beside what I talk about in these articles.
In an earlier story, he claimed that Shrem and his group of "MSG" companies would not be responsible for the debacle, because responsibility would lie with another company, Proyecto Malibu Beach Resort, S.A.
The group of Econoplade companies, meanwhile, are/were all headed by Mr. Javier Cardoze Fabrega. A one time president of the Panamanian Chamber of Construction Companies, his Econoplade landed in financial trouble in 2008 - as did so many others. However, by Shrem's and Winner's own story, Econoplade wasn't managing the project, but Proyecto Malibu Beach Resort was. Or, as Winner put it:
The legal obligation remains with the company PROYECTO MALIBU BEACH RESORT, S.A., formed by Econoplade and German Ruiz Barrancos in 2004 specifically to build and develop this project. However this company is now bankrupt and virtually destroyed. They have no assets, only debts and obligations. The owner of the company, German Ruiz Barrancos, the guy who signed your contracts, has since died. So if you're thinking about getting a lawyer and going after someone to get your money back it will most likely be a wasted effort.
If you look up that company in the Public Registry, you'll find nominees as directors: Juana de Dios Hernandez, Roberto Fernandez and Miriam Almanza Jaen.
But, if you dig a little deeper, you'll find that those are not the original directors. The original directors were German Ruiz Barrancos, Ovadia Shrem, Marco Shrem and Javier Cardoze Fabrega.
In other words, those who say they lost the money and those who supposedly stole it were in reality together running the company that was, according to Shrem and Winner themselves, responsible for managing the project, the contracts and the finances and remains responsible for the debacle. One big family.
To blame Econoplade - now defunct - and someone who has since deceased for stealing $4 million while hiding the fact that Marco Shrem and one of his family members were managing that same company that was responsible for the money is just the typical distortion of facts we've come to expect from Don Winner and his clients over the years he has now been promoting a variety of criminal interests on the isthmus. Why has Winner, if Econoplade indeed stole the money as he claims, not once mentioned Cardoze in his stories, who would obviously be responsible? Has any of the myriad of companies who were defrauded by Econoplade taken legal action against Cardoze? Theft is, after all, a crime for which one can be held accountable, and the Cardoze family has very deep pockets.
In short: This Shrem/Winner spin just doesn't add up. It can't be true if you don't want to ignore the facts.
Was the money really lost, or was it laundered? FRENADESO alleges the latter, pointing out how the construction business is routinely used in Panama to launder dirty money - something the DEA will confirm, by the way. Dirty money, as in, the profits from illegal arms sales to Colombian paramilitary terrorist groups. Right, Mr. Shrem?
Does anyone really want to buy into the new whites-only Gorgona beach scheme these people have built on the carcass of the old fiasco?
I noticed that Don Winner’s chicken-boy was pimping his site in the comment section of the WaPo today, in an article about Noriega’s return.
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