Thursday 22nd February 2024.

February 21, 2024


Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals, parent of Minera Panama, said Wednesday that it would seek $20 billion through international arbitration, after Panama ordered the closure of the company’s flagship copper mine.

The company reports that it has lost more than half of its market value after the Supreme Court of Justice declared unconstitutional the contract between the company and the Panamanian State.

“We have provided a minimum value sought in those proceedings of $20 billion, reflecting an estimated fair market value of the initial investment,” First Quantum CEO Tristan Pascall said during a conference call with market analysts.

In this sense, he indicated that the company could obtain an amount much greater than that mentioned in the arbitration process, if damages and interest are computed.

However, he also specified that arbitration is not the path the company prefers.

“We would really prefer to reach an agreement with the State of Panama that results in the best result for the people and for the company,” he mentioned.

Although since the beginning of February, Pascall had already indicated that the company prefers to reach an agreement with the Panamanian government, he also indicated that the two arbitration demands that it presented at the end of 2023 are maintained.

In the transcript of the call with market analysts, Pascall reiterated that they have initiated international arbitration processes, including notification under the free trade agreement between Canada and Panama, and before the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in relation to the 2023 concession contract.

But “that said, arbitration is not our preferred outcome and we continue to engage in constructive communication with the Government while remaining committed to Panama and being part of a long-term solution that provides the best outcome for the country and Panamanians.

The Government has understood that the arbitration process remains “cooling off” or in a cooling zone. However, in the country it is unknown what type of agreement the parties could reach against arbitration, after the contract was declared unconstitutional and environmental, union, student, educator and citizen groups in general disagreed with the activity. mining.

At least 10 market analysts participated in the call with Pascall. Among them were Greg Barnes, of TD Securities, Orest Wowkodaw, for Scotiabank; Jackie Przybylowski, representing BMO Capital Markets, Dalton Baretto, representing Canaccord Genuity; and Ralph Profiti of Eight Capital.

Ioannis Masvoulas, from Morgan Stanley, also listened to it; Lawson Winder; of Bank of America Securities and Ian Rossouw, representing Barclays.

The Third Civil Court did not accept a lawsuit for $20 million in compensation presented by former President Ricardo Martinelli against the judge of the Superior Court for Settlement of Criminal Cases, Manuel Mata Avendaño .

Mata was the speaker of the appeal that Martinelli and other defendants accused of money laundering presented against the conviction handed down by criminal judge Baloisa Marquínez , in the New Business case . The Superior Court of Liquidation confirmed the judge’s decision, which for Martinelli implies a sentence of 10 years and 8 months in prison and the payment of a fine of $19.2 million.

In his civil lawsuit, the former president questioned that Mata granted each of the defense attorneys a period of 15 simultaneous (and not consecutive) days to present an appeal in the New Business case.

A press release from the Judicial Branch specifies that civil judge Nelson Riquelme considered that the claim presented by Martinelli is inadmissible in the civil sphere and that it should be processed in the administrative litigation sphere in the Third Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ). .

In addition to being a judge in the Superior Liquidation Court, Mata is a substitute for Judge Ariadne García in the Criminal Chamber of the CSJ.

Judge Riquelme specifies that, because he belongs to the ordinary civil jurisdiction, he lacks jurisdiction to hear the lawsuit filed by lawyer Felipe Sánchez Castillo, representing Martinelli.

Martinelli’s lawyers also filed a criminal complaint against Judge Mata for the alleged commission of a crime against public faith and illicit association to commit a crime, for allegedly having delivered the New Business file incompletely on a USB device.

Martinelli is seeking asylum in the Nicaraguan embassy in Panama, after alleging alleged political persecution and stating that his life is in danger.

The conviction by New Business means that he will not be able to participate in the May 5 tournament, since the Constitution prohibits the election of a president of the Republic who has a sentence of 5 years in prison or more.

The trial for the dehydrated food case ended . which was purchased with funds from the National Aid Program (PAN) in the government of Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014). It concluded on the night of Tuesday, February 20 at 7:01 pm and Agueda Rentería , the head of the First Criminal Cases Settlement Court,

In the trial, which began last Monday, February 19, prosecutor Ariel De Gracia requested a conviction for the four defendants: Giácomo Tamburelli , former director of the National Aid Program; Rubén De Ycaza , the supplier of the dehydrated food, and the merchants Jorge Noel and Cinthia Quirós .

The Discharge Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office investigated them for the alleged commission of crimes against the public administration, in the forms of embezzlement in various forms, influence peddling and crimes against public health.

In the ordinary hearing, two private defense lawyers presented appeals with the purpose of dismissing the case, including incidents of prescription of the criminal action in favor of their clients. These legal actions will be resolved by the judge at the time of issuing the sentence, as reported by the Judicial Branch in a statement.

At the trial, two experts from the Comptroller General of the Republic supported the audit that determined a financial injury to the State of $14 million , an element that was key in the investigation.

This investigation began in 2015, precisely as a result of the audit report of the Comptroller’s Office that detected irregularities in the purchase of dehydrated food for official schools in the poorest towns in the country.

This is the second investigation carried out by the Public Ministry for the purchase of dehydrated food during the five-year period 2009-2014, an administration in which the PAN paid $60 million in dehydrated food.

On February 29, the plenary session of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) will hold the hearing on the charges against the presidential candidate and deputy seeking re-election, Zulay Rodríguez , for the alleged commission of the crimes of money laundering, abuse of trust, illicit association to commit a crime and against the administration of justice.

Through an edict released this Wednesday, February 21 at the CSJ secretariat, the parties have been informed of the decision.

The investigation has its origins in a complaint filed by Diana Clemente Cardona , wife of the now deceased Mexican merchant José Luis Penagos , who in 2009 was detained at the Tocumen International Airport when he was en route to Colombia.

On that occasion, several gold plates were confiscated from Penagos under the argument that they had not been declared and that, according to the authorities, they had traces of methamphetamines.

Then, in 2013, Penagos hired Rodríguez’s legal services to claim the seized material, but at the end of the judicial process, he accused her of having appropriated 66 kilos of gold. Rodríguez stated that Penagos never paid her and that the gold was her payment for her professional services.

In this case, Judge María Cristina Chen Stanziola acts as prosecutor, while Judge Ariadne García serves as guarantee judge.

The Public Ministry (MP) maintains the Amber alert for Vianeis Yousibel Víquez Marquínez, 16 years old, who was reported missing since last February 1 at 10:00 am, in Paso Canoas, Chiriquí.

The young woman is 1.53 meters tall, has long, straight light brown hair, and her eyes are green. She was wearing a white sweater and blue jeans. Additionally, she was carrying a black backpack with white stripes.

This is indicated by the information disseminated on the Panama Amber Alert digital platforms.

The Amber Alert system, created by Law 230 of June 24, 2021 and regulated by Executive Decree 24 of October 23, 2023 , aims to quickly and expeditiously locate the disappearance or abduction of minors in Panama.

The duration of the dissemination of this alert cannot be less than five hours nor more than twenty-four hours. However, the young woman disappeared on February 1 and the Amber Alert was declared on February 6.


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