Published On: Tue, Sep 8th, 2015

Panama securities regulator sentenced to five years for suppressing insider trading investigation

ignacio_fabregaPANAMA CITY, Panama -- Ignacio Fábrega, the former director of the Superintendency of Securities (SMV), Panama's securities regulatory agency, has been sentenced to five years in prison for his role in the Financial Pacific/Petaquilla Mining insider trading scandal.

Fábrega admitted delivering confidential information detailing his agency's investigation into the Financial Pacific scandal to then-president Ricardo Martinelli and his associates, and subsequently dismissing all pending investigations into misconduct at Financial Pacific.

Fábrega, who pleaded guilty to the charge of official corruption, had been a fugitive from justice for several months after he fled house arrest. Martinelli and former tourism minister Solomon Shamah, a suspected narcotics trafficker, have been implicated by his statements to anti-corruption prosecutors.

Several ministers in Martinelli's cabinet made millions of dollars by illegally trading in inside information on Petaquilla, defrauding hundreds of Canadian and American investors who did not have the benefit of non-public information about developments concerning the company's gold mine. Members of Panama's shadowy criminal elite also illegally made massive profits in the insider trading scandal.

Fábrega, while in office, was known to ignore any securities law violations when they implicated any of Martinelli's inner circle of associates, and concealed the fact that the former president was a $3 million investor in Financial Pacific, and obeyed any directions he received from him, notwithstanding his obligations as head of his country's securities regulator.

By Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock is a banking lawyer turned-career money launderer (10 years), turned-compliance officer specialising in enhanced due diligence, and a financial crime consultant who publishes a Financial Crime Blog. The Laundry Man, his autobiography, was published in the UK on 5 July 2012.

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