And the beat goes on in the never ending “Panama Papers” debacle in which millions of stolen documents from the Panama law firm “Mossack & Fonseca” have been used to pursue corruption in the offshore world that Panama sits in the middle of.
While we have continuously been defending Panama and its legal system in their rights to represent clients and perform all legal offshore services in support of competitive taxation and international free markets, it now looks like the pressure has escalated to extreme finger pointing within the Panama government and legal system. Former friends are now foes in Panama as truth runs for the hills in response to tainted reputations based on this stolen data.
With our decade of experience in Panama and knowing these various players, this turn of events is not surprising. The international pressures on this relatively tiny republic at the center of international commerce have caused upheaval in the already delicate systems of governance in Panama between the courts, the presidency and the legal system based on Napoleonic law.
This situation has been mishandled from the start by all the Panamanian parties involved. With their supposed strong international legal presence and understanding of international law, Mossack and Fonseca should have immediately taken a much stronger legal stand against the stolen data they were victims of. They should have sued every journalist and more fervently pursued the perpetrators of this crime against them. They should be defending their “clients” worldwide instead of ignoring their plights. Whether they didn’t want to pay for these kinds of actions, or simply misunderstood the international severity of the charges against them from foreign powers…we along with the rest of the world observed their relative silence as is appeared to cover what was really going on in these matters.
In addition, President Verela has been all over the board in responding to these attacks on Panama and its sovereignty over such matters. At first, he’s launching all kinds of public forums and investigations into the accusations. Then almost as abruptly, he shuts down all such investigative panels inside of Panama on the issues. This makes all parties involved appear to be covering up what the findings are. In addition, Panama has allowed the USA and other powers to force the closure of banks and businesses without due process of law. Many of the actions taken have been “unlawful” under Panamanian due process of law…but they have subjected themselves to international “treaties” before upholding their own constitutional processes.
Since none of these Panamanian parties have taken strong, aggressive actions in response…this situation has continued to fester and damage the political and economic framework of this already fragile nation/state. Political and economic graft and corruption do not start and end in tiny Panama. We have already pointed out in our book and continued blogs here that the biggest “offshore havens” are actually the USA and other big countries who are now pointing their fingers at Panama. The real big institutions who are illegally controlling global markets are totally in the shadows, laughing and heaping onto the pile of blame towards the Panama system. These Panama players are just small scapegoats for the huge levels of international corruption and power-mongering that happens every day in global markets.
Once again, our prediction is that, in the end, Panamanian institutions will continue to cannibalize their system in order to get back to business as usual. The banks and business in general in Panama have been hurt more than they care to admit over this crazy affair. Significant percentages of assets in their banks have disappeared to other nations “under the radar” of the liberal, misguided press that has been fueling this affair. It has also been a cause of LESS freedom of the press in Panama on these matters. A sad state of affairs really.
In the long run, nothing will really change except the “players” in the unfolding drama. The president and his former minions will go into hiding or wait until the storm blows over. Other “powers” will step into their places to continue business as usual. To us, no real crimes have really been committed under Panamanian laws where Mossack Fonseca are concerned…except lying or covering up the truth about what is really going on.
The real question and remaining pursuit of justice should be about Oldebrecht contracts and payoffs. If the Presidents of Panama, Colombia, and other countries can be proven to have taken money from this Brazilian mega company…THEY should pay the price and THAT should be the story.
These and many other issues are being addressed in “The Truth about the Panama Papers”.