Thursday 25th April 2024.

April 24, 2024


The reform of the Panama Savings Fund Law (FAP) worries the private sector and civil society, which fears that this savings will be decapitalized and will not fulfill the role for which it was created: having resources for disaster coverage. natural disasters or economic slowdown.

Carlos Berguido, president of the FAP Supervisory Commission, for the National Council of Private Enterprise (Conep), requested the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), to first withdraw the bill with the purpose of having it submitted to open and transparent consultations with the participation of all sectors.

Berguido specified in an interview with La Prensa that he understands the MEF’s argument, of not making the contributions in liquid resources ordered by the FAP law, in the midst of the situation of falling gross domestic product (GDP), due to the economic crisis and tax produced by the pandemic.

But at the same time it considers that other measures can be taken to prevent the current income and expenses of the State from being affected on the one hand and to prevent the FAP from being decapitalized.

Berguido indicates that one of the measures that they are proposing to the MEF is that instead of condoning the contributions owed corresponding to the years 2020-2022, as proposed in article 2 of the FAP Law, the State fulfills said commitment, contributing or paying that debt with alternative assets, replacing liquid resources.

“ The Panamanian State is the owner of land, buildings, shares in companies and assets of various kinds, which could be contributed to the FAP, so that it can manage them, generate income, or liquidate them , and thus the savings of all Panamanians continue to grow. for the benefit of future generations,” said Berguido.

He then insists that instead of simply canceling what the MEF stopped paying during the pandemic years, that money be paid with these alternative assets and that the FAP can use them.

Berguido specified that the proposal of the FAP Supervisory Commission is supported by Conep, by the College of Authorized Public Accountants, the College of Economists, the National Council of Organized Workers and the Ecumenical Council of Panama that make up this commission.

“ This would also send a positive message to international agents, credit rating agencies and the community of local and international investors about the country’s willingness to have fiscal discipline and the responsibility of maintaining the sovereign investment fund.”

Ariadne García , judge of the Second Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) , cut her vacation period short.

In a letter he sent last Tuesday, April 23, to Judge María Eugenia López , president of the Court, he announced that his vacation will be “only until Friday, April 26.” Originally, her return was scheduled for May 2. This, with the purpose of being in her office next Monday, April 29.

García began his vacation last Monday, April 22. Maribel Cornejo , a judge who, like García, is part of the Second Criminal Chamber, is also on rest .

While María Eugenia López , and her colleagues Ángela Russo and Miriam Cheng, are on a work trip and will return to the country on Saturday, April 27.

In the hands of the CSJ is the future of the candidacy of José Raúl Mulino , the presidential standard bearer of the Realizing Goals (RM) and Alianza parties for the general elections of May 5 . The 11-1 agreement with which the Electoral Tribunal (TE) disqualified Ricardo Martinelli from competing in the elections, and authorized Mulino to assume the presidential candidacy of RM and Alianza, was sued as “unconstitutional” in Court.

According to sources from the Judiciary, Judge Olmedo Arrocha , rapporteur of the case, has not yet presented the draft ruling. The usual Thursday plenary session was suspended.

Last Friday, April 19, the period for submitting opinions on the lawsuit ended. At least 60 people presented allegations, documents that Arrocha must analyze.

Various voices from society have questioned the Court because it has not made a decision on the issue. Former candillero Jorge Eduardo Ritter assured that he seems to have decided to avoid such a great responsibility with justice and democracy.

The Drug Prosecutor’s Office is managing the extradition of Jaime Powell, alias Yunya , and Alfredo Martínez Meza, alias Paciero , whom it links to operations Ballena and Exodus, through which criminal structures dedicated to drug trafficking to Europe and to money laundering.

The authorities are also on the trail of lawyers, financiers, front men and accountants who collaborated with this network.

From Spain and Dubai, these two subjects, according to the prosecution, coordinated the delivery of drug shipments, a maneuver that included the contamination of containers in the ports of the province of Colón.

Another of the leaders of the group is Juan Vicente Blandford, alias Letra, or boss Juancito, who was detained in the Punta Coco prison. Like Reynaldo Pérez Palacios, alias Rey, recently detained in Colombia, and who is being requested for extradition to face charges for the alleged commission of the crime of money laundering.

The group had formed a series of front companies to manage its business operations. These are paper companies, without any physical location, that had operating notices and made income declarations before the General Directorate of Revenue to simulate legitimate activities. They also opened bank accounts to make purchases of fruit, packaging and wood. The purpose was to send drugs in containers to countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain.

The discharge prosecutor of the Public Ministry, Nivia Magaly Lorenzo, requested a conviction for Mayte Pellegrini, Iván Clare, West Valdés and Óscar Rodríguez, of the liquidated brokerage house Financial Pacific (FP), for the alleged commission of the crime of aggravated fraud to the detriment of Caye Bank International.

During a trial held yesterday before the First Settlement Court of Criminal Cases, prosecutor Lorenzo estimated that within the investigation the connection of the accused with the crime of fraud against Caye Bank was proven, for which she requested Judge Agueda Rentería a guilty plea.

In the session that began at 9:00 am, Judge Rentería denied a motion presented by Pellegrini’s defense to suspend the trial for having electoral criminal jurisdiction, because she is a candidate for the Central American Parliament (Parlacen) by free nomination. Renteria alleged that the request presented by Pellegrini was made out of time, so she dismissed it and continued with the trial. Pellegrini is also the organizational coordinator of the presidential campaign of PRD member Zulay Rodríguez, who also aspires to the position of mayor and deputy for San Miguelito.

Meanwhile, the defense lawyers asked Judge Rentería to issue an acquittal in favor of their clients, arguing that the prosecution could not prove the existence of criminal conduct.

The European Commission reiterated the progress that Panama has made in its fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism, highlighting the country’s removal from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) list in October 2023.

However, despite these achievements, Panama remains on the European Union’s list of “high-risk third countries.”

In a statement, the Delegation of the European Union in Panama indicates that after a successful visit in September 2023, where the services of the European Commission closely evaluated Panamanian progress, compliance with the specific strategic deficiencies established by this bloc was recognized. of countries.

It specifies that the country has demonstrated a serious commitment by providing substantial information and modifying its legal framework to address European concerns, especially in terms of transparency in beneficial ownership information.

He explains that this progress led to the fact that on March 14, 2024, the European Commission proposed removing Panama from the list of “high-risk third countries.”

However, this decision was objected to by the European Parliament yesterday, Tuesday, April 23, which prevents the measure from coming into force.

Despite this setback, the statement states that the European Commission reaffirms its commitment to working with Panama to address remaining concerns and achieve the definitive elimination of the high-risk list.

During the last year, the General Directorate of Revenue (DGI) has issued 11 precautionary kidnapping measures, which exceed $43 million.

These processes are related to falsehoods in real estate purchase and sale declarations, simulations that sought to evade the payment of dividends, withholdings of the ITBMS (Tax on Transfer of Movable Property and Services), irregularities in the declarations and undeclared profits , indicated the collecting entity. of taxes.

In this sense, cases have been found of companies and people who, although they declared income tax, simulated expenses that did not exist and also carried out acts to seek to reduce the amount payable.

There are also known cases of tax evasion in which the figure of loans or credits that had to be reported as dividends were used.

Publio De Gracia, director of the DGI , said that in addition to the 11 cases, there are another 2 that are being completed to be sent to the Tax Administrative Court (TAT) for the subsequent presentation of the corresponding complaints to the Public Ministry (MP) .

Last February, the DGI reported that there were 177 tax evasion investigations totaling about $300 million.

Panama Car Rental and the Moving Vidas Foundation held a planting day from April 19 to 21 in honor of Earth Day.  More than 200 volunteers joined this noble cause, planting more than 400 Guayacán seedlings in the City of Health. This act reflects the commitment of the Panamanian community to the environment.

We thank the volunteers and sponsoring companies: Grupo Melo, Tzanetatos, Global IT Services, Barrio Pizza, Rio de Oro, McDonald’s, Feduro and Panadería Yaya. Your support was essential for the success of this day.

During the year, the Moving Vidas Foundation and Panama Car Rental will continue to collaborate on similar initiatives to beautify Panama and promote environmental awareness.



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