23 de Feb de 2020

Nacional

Security in the air and in finance

This week’s tragic helicopter crash at Tocumen Airport that killed three people was the second fatal accident in less than a year. That’...

This week’s tragic helicopter crash at Tocumen Airport that killed three people was the second fatal accident in less than a year. That’s a pretty high ratio for a small country. The previous crash, in May of 2008 killed 11 and caused a swirl of charges and counter charges. One local newspaper produced a letter allegedly written earlier by the pilot saying the helicopter, a SAN 100, was not safe to carry passengers. As the time of the crash it was carrying VIP visitors including a Chilean General and his wife.

The accident did little to enhance the reputation of the police, and those advocating moving to militarization and combining the operations of the air and maritime units.

The government responded by claiming that the newspaper altered the original letter. Panama’s crusading Attorney General Ana Matilde Gomez was investigating the strange serious of events that included a “disappearing” co-pilot, whose family didn’t know where he was, and who was whisked out of The National Hospital in the early hours of the morning to an undisclosed destination. Rumours swirled.

The director of the National Air Service, Rigoberto Gordon said that the helicopter was in perfect condition, but added a corollary that 80 percent of the fleet was out of action and the crashed helicopter was one of 20 deemed serviceable. A budget that would be able to pay for parts and repairs had been presented before the accident, and was “about to be approved”.

As is so often the case, those in authority believe time was meant to heal all things, and the subject disappeared from the newscasts and the headlines. until yesterday.

FRAUD OR...? When it come to fraud there is no such thing as one size fits all. Fraud comes in many shapes and sizes and these days size seems to be the dominating factor. Fraudsters with petty schemes that rob people of $800 million, currently under investigation in Europe are small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. Texas billionaire Sir Alan Stanford has allegedly bilked his banking customers of $8 billion dollars, give or take a million or two.

The threads have led to Panama where funds in three local branches have been frozen. But hey, we got our name spalshed alongside other hapless victims on CNN.

The there are the disappearing millions of the DMG ponzi case, with David Murcia , the

young Colombian lad with a stable of Buggattis and Ferraris, in Panama desperately trying to retrieve some of the allegedly ill gotten gains to pay his lawyers in Colombia where his alleged crimes make the few millions taken from Panamanian pockets look like peanuts. Unless of course, you happen to be a victim and are left without savings. Invevitably some political names have been brought up, and as inevitably they are denying any relationship

Of course the grand daddy of them all, is the Maloff case, where the perpetrator of a world wide alleged ponzi scheme ripped off $50 billion from investors who, inspired by greed, believed his blandishments, as did the US securities authorities who had been tipped off in the 1990’s. But when you have a shiny glass tower as your head office, drive a luxury car, and live in a mansion, you must be a straight shooter. Yes and the bullet goes right into you foot. Six Panamanian business fell for it. They should take a look around town at some of those driving super-expensive cars, and wonder.

And then there are the small time frauds, like the one that caught me napping recently. An e-mail purportedly from the American Society of Panama, came instead from a local blogger. It was pushing a “free” magazine that is little more than a dressed up ad rag, containing fulsome editorials with inaccurate inaccurate facts. According to a board director, the information was not sanctioned by the Society. I hope they are taking steps to quash the offender.