Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

PANAMA'S UTTERLY CORRUPT JUDICIAL SYSTEM FACILITATES FINANCIAL CRIME AGAINST FOREIGN INVESTORS


Panama's new reformist Varela government is seeking to clean up the country's court system, but corruption is deeply rooted, and frankly the only way to assure that the rule of law will finally prevail is to clean house. This means the judiciary, the prosecutors, and yes, even the dirty lawyers, all will have to go.

Many prominent attorneys pay off the judges, and the prosecutors, to delays cases for years, if their client is the defendant, and for a quick resolution, should the client be the plaintiff, irrespective of the facts, and the state of the law. As we have often repeated, the rule of law simply does not exist in the courts of Panama.

On of the biggest corrupters in Panama City is attorney Alcides Bartolo Peña Villar, known around town as "the Fixer," due to his regular payoff of prosecutors and judges. Peña openly boasts of his close relationships with members of the Supreme Court of Justice, most of whom are now losing their positions, due to corruption. If you wanted a case delayed indefinitely, that is pending at Panama's Supreme Court, payments to the justices, made by people like Peña, were the order of business.

Peña has been known to drag out lawsuits pending against his clients for five years of more; in one case he has been accused of forging documents, stealing and destroying documents and court files, having cases abruptly transferred, so to delay their normal progress, and having prosecutors on his payroll seek to dismiss valid criminal charges against his clients. One of the prosecutors listed in that case is Maria de Lourdes Estrada Villar, and I will leave it for you to judge, based upon these facts, whether she has been paid to delay the proceedings.

One of Peña's most infamous clients is the fugitive Ponzi schemer, American businessman Gary James Lundgren, who is currently facing criminal charges for fraud and theft of millions of dollars of real estate. Lundgren, who operates as an unlicensed securities dealer, advertises bogus "high-yield" investments to American investors, through a network of friends and associates. Most of these investments are unregistered securities, and Lundgen himself has no broker-dealer license in Panama, but Peña has managed, through the payment of bribes, to evade any enforcement activity within Panama, though he is reportedly under investigation in the united States. Lundgren openly brags about how he has managed to pervert justice in Panama, through illicit payments, made by his attorney, to judges and prosecutors.

Without a fair and free judicial system, foreign investors and businessmen with a valid claim simply cannot prevail in the Panamanian court system, without breaking corruption laws in their home country; financial criminals use this to commit repeated crimes against them, and bribe the court system to deny the victim any legal redress. Since you cannot get justice in Panama, it is humbly suggested that you stay out of the country, with any business plans, until and unless court corruption is abolished, which is a tall order. President Varela, please clean up your country's courts. 

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