Friday, September 21, 2007

ABP: Banking controls worked with Urrego

The Banking Association of Panama (ABP), in light of the most recent money laundering case, disagrees that the banking system should take responsibility for failed controls.

The alleged drug dealer Jose Nelson Urrego was captured Saturday in Panama City, and investigations have revealed that he managed to lauder close to 13 million dollars in local banks.

“The bank received a client that had legalized his status in Panama, in a record time,” according to reports, “And once the transactions were detected as suspicious, the accounts were closed and the proper authorities notified,” commented the ABP’s President Alexis Arjona.

The banker maintains that it was not the banking system that failed, but rather that they gave him a license. “The bank did meet its responsibilities and followed all that was required by law,” he pointed out.

Although the ABP’s president believes that it is not the law that are failing, she informed that this profession, as it often does, works in junction with the Bank Superintendent in the updating and strengthening of banking laws and Law 42, that dictates the laws about money laundering.

“The Banking Association of Panama is committed to fighting against money laundering, and that can be seen in all congresses and forums that we give annually to update ourselves about the latest tendencies of this crime,” commented the director of the banking profession.

Inaguration of Lafise Bank

The Lafise Group, a multinational financial entity with headquarters in Miami and offices in Central America, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and now Panama, opened offices on the 37th floor of the Global Bank Tower, said a bank official. Its president, Roberto Zamora Llanes, and the principal managers at the regional level will be meeting for a couple of days in Panama.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Banking Reforms in Panama are on their Way

Bank Superintendent proposes to strengthen and revise current banking legislation.

The market continues to be attractive for big corporations, such as the French Calyon Bank.

Olegario Barrelier, Panama’s Bank Superintendent, recognized that money laundering takes place in the country, as occurs in other countries that attempt to be models to follow in the fight against this affliction.

“It affects and embarrasses us that this occurs in our country,” said Barrelier when advocating for immediate reforms to the existing legislation. Barrelier proposes making legislation more robust and more adequate in light of the new trends that arise when fighting against money laundering, adding that they are already working on this.

“We should modernize our laws, not because somebody is forcing us to, but because it is in the best interests of Panama to not leave the country in the hands of delinquents,” the superintendent responded to the representatives’ questions, taking advantage of his appearance before the Budget Commission.

He insisted that it should not be a consolation for the Panamanians in New York, Marseilles, Antwerp, Naples and the Mexican-American border, among others, where more money in laundered than in Panama.

In order to modernize legislation, Law 9 of 1998 must be modified, which regulates banking activity, in the chapter that outlines the amount of reserves that should be maintained.

Furthermore, Law 42 of October 2000 must be modified, which establishes the means to prevent money laundering, in order to include new methods and professions, such as lawyers and accounts.

Calyon Bank may come

Barrelier emphasized the importance of continuing to work on strengthening the image of Panama’s banking center, in order to continue maintaining its relevance and attractiveness to big entities such as Calyon, France’s largest private bank, which is exploring the possibility of setting up operations in Panama.

“They have approached the Superintendent to learn more about the system,” mentioned an official, adding that they have received 16 applications this year from banks from diverse nationalities interested in operating in the Panamanian market.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Isla Grande

I have know about Isla Grande for a while now, but last Saturday was the first time I had ever been to the island.

Isla Grande is located within the Portobelo National park. The only means to reach the island is a 5-minute boat ride from the small town of La Guaira, located approximately 20 kilometers from Portobelo and whose main form of sustenance is fishing and tourism.

The population of Isla Grande is approximately 300 inhabitants, though the island receives many tourists on weekends and holidays, who enjoy the island's beaches, trails, and excellent scuba diving and snorkeling (coral reefs surround the island). Isla Grande is especially peaceful since there are no cars or motor bikes on the island.

The people of Isla Grande are incredibly friendly and willing to do what they can in order to make one's stay as enjoyable as possible. We ate a fabulous dinner at Restaurant Congo, where we engorged ourselves on a huge crab, lobster, and an excellent fillet of Corvina.

I can't wait to go back!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Useful Tips on Buying Property in Panama

Are you interested in purchasing real estate in Panama? Visit Land in Panama and get useful tips on buying property in Panama.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Proposed Avenida Balboa

Anyone that has recently traveled to Panama City, Panama knows that Avenida Balboa is not living up to its full potential. Traffic jams, insufficient walkways, and an often times stinky bay hold it back from being the pristine promenade it should be. Numerous companies identified this opportunity...