Government asks that Pandora Papers not defame the image of Panama

A Panamanian law firm, Alcogal, is once again the protagonist in an international journalistic investigation in which it is branded as “a magnet for the rich and powerful (…) who seek to hide wealth abroad”, andAmong them are three former presidents of Panama, the current president of Ecuador or the king of Jordan.

De Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (Alcogal) come from “more than two million” of the total of 11.9 million Confidential records of law firms and offshore service providers collected by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in the Pandora Papers report, released this Sunday.

“An ICIJ analysis of the records” of Pandora’s papers “it found that as a result of the revelations” in 2016 of the Panama papers, the leak of millions of documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, now defunct, “at least 113 companies changed their registered agent from Mossack Fonseca to Alcogal.”

The journalistic consortium indicated that “Alcogal has also served figures involved in some of the most notorious corruption scandals in the recent history of Latin America, including the global bribery operation of the Brazilian giant of the construction Odebrecht SA (now known as Novonor), the international soccer corruption scandal known as Fifagate and the alleged looting of Venezuelan public property. “

Alemán, Cordero, Galindo y Lee was established in 1985. It is a law firm committed to complying with regulations for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, says its website.

Has as partners Jaime Alemán, Eloy Alfaro B., Raúl Borrella, Jaime Castillo, Carlos Cordero, Aníbal Galindo, Arturo Gerbaud, Eduardo Gómez, Alejandro Ferrer – former Panamanian Foreign Minister with the current government-, Jorge Federico Lee, Lorenzo Enríquez and Raúl Zúñiga B., as it appears on their website.

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According to the journalists’ corporation, the Pandora Papers reveal information “on more than 14,000” extraterritorial “entities in Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Panama and other tax havens, created by Alcogal on behalf of more than 15,000 clients, mostly since 1996. “

“In total, almost half of the politicians whose names appear” on Pandora’s papers “were linked to Alcogal,” which “acted as a corporate intermediary for more than 160 politicians and public officials, records show.”

Latin American clients include three former Panamanian presidents, including Ernesto Pérez Balladares (1994-1999), who appears as a director of three offshore companies, and also associated with another company in the Virgin Islands named in a bribery case in Panama, according to the ICIJ.

The Former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014), according to the international investigation, is listed as a registered shareholder and agent of several offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands.

Alcogal’s records show that in 2000 and 2001 it registered two companies in the British Virgin Islands owned by Juan Carlos Varela, who ruled Panama between 2014 and 2019, his brother, father and other associates.

In 2006, the law firm registered a company in Panama called Karlane Overseas SA The following year, all but one of the 10,000 shares were transferred to Nasry Juan “Tito” Asfura, records show.

Asfura, then commissioner of Tegucigalpa, is one of the main candidates for the presidency in the Honduran national elections next month, the ICIJ said.

For its part, ALCOGAL made the website available to the media and the general public, exclusively dedicated to answering the conjectures about the publications made this October 3 by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

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