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Monday, May 28 2018 @ 01:30 AM EDT

You're The - Diamond Smuggling and Money Laundering in Panama

Panama News The guy that's behind the diamond smuggling is a seasoned scammer (at the ripe old age of 24) named Rod Spiller. He's been running several High Yield Investment Programs (HYIP) for many years based out of Florida. One that he has recently shut down is called "Udachu Investments" (which is slang for "Your The Chump") and have been developing this scheme for a number of years. Last week a story broke about a diamond smuggler. It turns out that the guy that got caught trying to illegally import diamonds to Panama is a gringo kid named Rod Spiller. He paid a law firm in Panama to establish a foundation called The Caullin Foundation which he is using in conjunction with a website called to create some kind of "secure account based payment system that effectively uses diamonds as money." The Caullin Foundation received a shipment of 45 diamonds from South Africa which were intercepted by Panamanian Customs authorities who are investigating the case as an apparent attempt to import the diamonds without paying the appropriate import taxes. Basically, I'm running into crap about this dude as fast as I can search, so I'll give you what I have so far and let the feds do the rest.

Short Answer Up Front: Rod Spiller used the Caullin Foundation in Panama to buy 45 diamonds from a company in South Africa for $76,901 then had the merchandise shipped over in a courier pouch claiming it to have no commercial value and paying no import duty. But it's quite likely that evasion of import taxes is only the tip of the iceberg on this one. It seems that 24 year-old Rodney Spiller has rigged up some kind of a scam using diamonds as "virtual currency" to lure people to send him money. In checking into this trail of electrons I came across two more "offshore banking service" websites that are apparently being run by the same guy.

What A Mess: There's a lot of "clearing up" to do from the initial reporting because both DHL and the law firm that established this foundation have come forth to proclaim their innocence and ignorance of what Spiller was doing. But the "who shot who" on the import taxes is probably not the real story here. The real deal is going to come out once auditors start taking apart this setup to see exactly what's going on. Again, this is the start of what will almost certainly be a series of articles on this deal, and it will take awhile for the muck to settle and the truth to come out. In any case, here 'goes...

This is the first article written by José Somarriba Hernández for La Prensa on 1 November 2006 -

  • According to the Chief of Customs in Panama Daniel Delgado Diamante, the interception of 45 contraband diamonds which came into Panama from Johannesburg, South Africa, is first of this type in Panama. Delgado said that "the diamonds were being sent to a foundation in Chiriquí which is registered in the Public Registry but which is not conducting any business or commercial activity."

  • According to a press release from the Customs office, the diamonds came in a package addressed to Fundi Protects & Dist, and there was also package tracking label from RAM International Transport. The press release said that the diamonds (were signed for by) the law firm Mossack & Fonseca and belong to a foundation based in Boquete called the Co-Boquete Caullin Foundation according to a document found in the package. The diamond shipment was brought into Panama by the air cargo company DHL in a small package and when customs agents opened it they found the 45 diamonds and an invoice for $76,901 dollars.

  • Only $61 dollars were paid in import taxes paid for this package. Delgado said that a diamond expert said they consider the actual value of the diamonds to be over $1 million dollars, and the owners should have paid import taxes of approximately $150,000 dollars. There are four people under investigation in this case, and American whose parents reside in Chiriquí, a messenger and two lawyers. The diamonds were deposited in a vault of the National Bank of Panama.

Yup, Those Are Diamonds Alright

La Critica Carries the Story: This article was written by William Sala for La Critica on 2 November 2006:

  • The Main Directorate of Customs seized 45 diamonds coming from Johannesburg, South Africa yesterday with a value was considered to be more than $1 million dollars. The package entered Panama in a (DHL) package and was marked "no commercial value." The package was addressed to a foundation in the province of Chiriquí.

  • "They could be facing smuggling charges," said the Director of Customs Daniel Delgado, and said that a 24 year-old man from the United States claimed responsibility for the package. Customs seized the package on Thursday in the cargo area of the Tocumen International Airport. A messenger from a law firm was sent to sign for the package.

  • The American said that the diamonds were a sample valued at $20,000 dollars, but two members of the law firm said that they did not know that there were diamonds in the package and though it only contained documents. At first customs agents thought the package had no commercial value, but then they found a receipt for $76,000. The company paid $61 to have the package shipped but paid no import duty, estimated to be more than $200,000 dollars.

RAM International Transport (Pty) Ltd: RAM International Transport (Pty) Ltd is apparently a perfectly legitimate courier service that specializes in high value items like diamonds. They are all over the Internet and are not hiding from anyone. They appeared on the documents in this shipment and were apparently the company that started the delivery process from South Africa which ended up with the lawyer signing for the package at their offices in Boquete. From their website:

RAM International Transport (Pty) Ltd

  • "RAM International Transport is a specialist company that services the local and international transportation of a wide range of precious, highly valuable and sensitive cargo. RAM International Transport is registered as an International Forwarder and Clearing Agent. This secure worldwide service allows for 24-hour, door-to-door delivery anywhere in the ECU and Middle East; with the same service reaching the Far East or Americas in 48 hours. Should you require it, the company offers the option of a highly skilled personal courier to accompany your cargo from collection to final delivery."

DHL Transports Cargo Around the World

DHL Says "It Wasn't Us" After the original article appeared in La Prensa on 1 November, DHL responded with two replies in an exchange between Félix H. Picardi C., who is the President and Legal Representative of DHL in Panama and someone from Panama's Ombudsman's office. Basically DHL wanted to make it clear that they did in fact transport the cargo from Curazao to Panama but only as a contractual carrier:

  • Explanation About the Diamonds: As the legal representatives of DHL Aero Expreso, S.A., in reference to the news article published on Wednesday, 1 November 2006 in La Prensa on page 8A under the title "Tax Evasion: The Diamonds Were Going to Go to Chiriquí " by journalist Jose Somarriba, to clarify the subtitle that appears beneath the photo. There it says "the 45 diamonds came in a DHL package." That is incorrect because neither the aerial guide, the wrapper or the package in which the diamonds were transported belonged to DHL. Consequently, the diamonds in question did not arrive in Panama in a DHL package. Our company is only the carrier in fact; that is to say, the one that transported the package from Curazao to Panama, but not as the contractual carrier, who celebrated the contract of aerial transport with the sender in Johannesburg. (signed) Felix H. Picardi C. President and Legal Representative of DHL Aero Expreso, S.A..

  • The Public Defender responded with a note saying: The journalist received the information briefed in the news from an official source, a press release from the Direction of Customs. The press release says clearly that "The package with the diamonds was protected by (wrapped in) aerial guide #07456855610 of the DHL Company." This was the response of the journalist when asked about the reference to DHL in the article.

  • In a second communication, Mr. Picardi expressed: "(...) we consider it to be an exercise of responsible journalism to verify that the information provided is true. In this case the aerial guide number 07456855610 does not belong to DHL, whose guides begin with the number 992. DHL Aero Expreso, S.A. does not deny that we transported the cargo from Curazao to Panama, but this fact does mean that the package in question is ours."

Mossack Fonseca & Company

Mossack Fonseca & Company (Boquete Office): In an article from El Siglo (below) on 2 November 2006, the lawfirm of Mossack Fonseca and Company explains their role in this case. They were the lawyers that founded The Caullin Foundation for Rodney Spiller in Boquete, and they did sign for the courier package containing the 45 diamonds, but they did not own the property nor did they know what the package contained. They were simply following the instrucitons from a client and are cooperating fully with Panamanian customs authorities.

  • Don Vidal Building, Office No.15, East A Avenue,
  • Boquete, Chiriqui, Republic of Panama
  • Tels: +507 720-2256 / +507 720-1744 Fax: +507 720-1422
  • Attn: Ms. Maria Eugenia Pinzón
  • E-mail:

Maria Eugenia Pinzón
  • Maria Eugenia Pinzón - Associate. Born in Panama, Republic of Panama, June18, 1972; admitted 1995, Panama. Education: University of Panama, School of Law. Staff member since 2005. Member: Panama Bar Association, Provincial Bar Association – Chiriqui, Children´s Nutrition Association. Language: Spanish and English.

El Siglo Article on Mossack Fonseca: When large, important, and serious companies get their name in the Panama, especially when associated with a crime, they look hard at what happened and then decide on a course of action to set things straight.

By Milerick Alvendas for El Siglo on 2 November 2006:

El Siglo

Law Firm "Shakes Out" Diamond Case

  • Even though administrators of the company Mossack Fonseca sent an explanatory note about the 45 diamonds seized by customs last 26 November, it has been learned that Ramón Fonseca and Mario Vlieq will be called to make official statements on this case that is an apparently an attempt by the owners of the merchandise to evade taxes.

    The note says "Through our offices located in Boquete, Chiriquí, we took care of Rodney Spiller (a North American citizen) who founded to company The Caullin Foundation, a private foundation that Mossack and Fonseca acts solely as the resident agent." The note goes on to say that they received a telephone call on the 24th of October from a courier company informing them that a package had arrived for The Caullin Foundation, but the company was refusing to receive it. Later, Thomas Brockman appeared at the offices of Mossack and Fonseca. Thomas was known to be a friend and associate of Rodney Spiller and had been introduced in the office with other members of The Caullin Foundation. Thomas Brockman told the representative of Mossack and Fonseca in Boquete that he was expecting a package and asked to be notified when it arrived. Brockman also instructed the representative of Mossack and Fonseca to accept the package and sign for it when it arrived on behalf of The Caullin Foundation. The Mossac and Fonseca lawyer signed for the package when it arrived as requested, but was completely ignorant of the contents of the package, which turned out to be 45 cut diamonds from South Africa.

  • The note finishes by saying that the diamonds which have now been confiscated by Panamanian customs officials do not belong to Mossack and Fonseca and that they were limited to performing a service as requested by a client, and that a serious and responsible company they would not jeapordize more than 30 years experience as a company, which is why they are cooperating fully with Panamanian Customs authorities to clear things up.

All That Was Preamble: That's what the local press had to say about this case, which they only are looking at so far as a diamond smuggling deal. But so far nobody's put The Caulin Foundation together with This website is one of those things that just looks like a scam as soon as you see it. Apparently they want you to send them money which they will put on deposit for you. Then they will give you an ATM card which you can use to spend the money. They promise to have a quantity of diamonds on hand at all times equal to the value of your deposits with them, and they will give you the diamonds and clear out your account whenever you want. Where do I sign?

About This is what they have listed in the "Contact Us" section:

  • Address:
  • 8 Don Vidal Plaza,
  • Boquete Republic de Panama
  • Tel: 001-202-536-3115
  • Fax: 001-305-395-5733


  • Physical Address: This is the same address listed for the law firm of Mossack & Fonseca, which lists their address as "Don Vidal Building, Office No.15, East A Avenue, Boquete." Can anyone tell me what's in office #8 of that building in Boquete?

  • Telephone Numbers: These are in the US. The 305 Area Code is in Miami and 202 is in Washington DC. (thanks for pointing out my mistake, George.)

  • The "Swedish Merchant S&L": The exact same phone numbers are listed on the Swedish Merchant Savings S&L website. They supposedly provide "Offshore Protection You Can Count on! Swedish Merchant Savings and Loan offers you an online, offshore banking alternative. Private membership very limited." In their "About Us" section they say:

    • "As a private group that has found, tried and true ways to not only build wealth, we provide you the opportunity to hold onto the wealth you have created. If you would like more information in learning how to protect your assets as well as make them multiply one of our consulting agents will be happy to assist you. Please refer to our contact page."

  • Welcome to! So I went to the contact page on the Swedish Merchant S&L site and noticed that the email address for customer support came out a website called "" which is nothing but an abandonded shell. But, you can almost see the maturation of a business model unfolding. First,, then the Swedish Merchant S&L, and now And by the way, the "parent bank" for the Swedish Merchant S&L is (wait for it) First Curacao, where the diamonds came from.

  • So Where Is They list the same physical address as on the DNS lookup. There's no doubt, it's all the same guys. Here's what's listed on the IP registration:

    • Visit for more information about
    • AboutUs:
    • Registration Service Provided By:
    • Contact:
    • Visit:
    • Domain name:
    • Registrant Contact:
    • UdachuFinacnial Services Ltd
    • b r (
    • +44.1111111
    • Fax: +1.1
    • 8 Don Vidal Plaza
    • Boquete, 00000
    • PA
    • Administrative Contact:
    • UdachuFinacnial Services Ltd
    • b r (
    • +44.1111111
    • Fax: +1.1
    • 8 Don Vidal Plaza
    • Boquete, 00000
    • PA
    • Technical Contact:
    • Udachu club
    • b r (
    • +44.1111111
    • Fax: +1.1
    • 1
    • lansdale, 00000
    • GB
    • Status: Locked
    • Name Servers:
    • Creation date: 25 Dec 2004 15:15:16
    • Expiration date: 25 Dec 2006 15:15:16

  • What About the Swedish Merchant Savings S&L Website: Here's what the Whois Lookup has to say about these guys:

    • Domain Name:
    • Registrar: AAAQ.COM
    • Whois Server:
    • Referral URL:
    • Name Server:
    • Name Server:
    • Status: ACTIVE
    • Updated Date: 2006-06-28
    • Creation Date: 2006-06-28
    • Expiration Date: 2007-06-28
    • Registrant:
    • Ciprian Dimofte
    • Str. Marasesti 98 A 18
    • Bacau
    • Bacau, Romania 600440
    • RO
    • +40726069916 Fax: +40726069916
    • Administrative Contact:
    • Ciprian Dimofte
    • Str. Marasesti 98 A 18
    • Bacau
    • Bacau, Romania 600440
    • RO
    • +40726069916 Fax: +40726069916
    • Technical Contact:
    • Administrator DNS
    • 1 N State Street
    • 12th Floor
    • Chicago, IL 60602
    • US
    • +1.3122362132 Fax: +1.3122361958
    • Billing Contact:
    • Ciprian Dimofte
    • Str. Marasesti 98 A 18
    • Bacau
    • Bacau, Romania 600440
    • RO
    • +40726069916 Fax: +40726069916

  • Note: The site comes up with the exact same Whois Lookup information as the Swedish Merchant site. This Ciprian Dimofte guy looks like he's all over the place on these "hype" networks, basically a subset of hackers who specialize in creating websites that illegally "hype" one scheme or another to gather information, data, or money. Chances are that the guys in Panama are hosting with him in Romania.

  • Bingo! Rod Spiller's a Day Trader: Check out these reports from on and Rod Spiller.

  • Yup, It's a Ponzi Scheme: Here's the first article from about Rod Spiller and his scheme. He's apparently come to Panama. How lovely. Wait, here's another one. Like I said, I'm running into this stuff everywhere I turn. He's one prolific site builder, that's for sure.

What About the Diamonds? According to the Panamanian Customs authorities, the 45 diamonds they seized were worth more than $1 million dollars, even though the package came with an invoice for $76,901 from the South African supplier. The deal is that if the diamonds are worth more than a million dollars, that works out to an average value of $22,200 per diamond. That's some good rocks! But in reality the diamonds are much more likely to be worth exactly what's on the invoice which works out to an average value of $1,708 each which sounds about right for low quality round cut bulk diamonds from South Africa. I did some searching and came up with several websites that sell diamonds for those prices. So, I think the Panamanian customs guys simply didn't know what they had and everyone called a press conference. In reality they stumbled into the building of (another) ponzi scheme, and veteran scammer Rod Spiller has started off with a big splash in Panama.

What About the Import Taxes? Anyone have the Panamanian tarif tables handy for wholesale cut diamonds? Anyone? Ok, lets assume that the diamonds are actually valued at $76,901 and there's a 15% import tax. At this point Rod Spiller can simply claim there was a mixup on the order, claim his property (the diamonds), pay the $11,535 in import taxes along with whatever fines the Panamanian government is going to throw at him and then go on his merry way. Of course it's gong to take awhile to have the diamonds appraised, and considering that this weekend is a holiday in Panama, not much is going to get done until at least Tuesday.

Is Rod Spiller Breaking the Law? Believe it or not, when you look into this guy he's young and fresh and full of it and he hasn't been caught or convicted of anything yet, as far as I can tell. He's pretty slick and he is now apparently moving more offshore than he has before, or at least he's living in Panama. All of his previous websites list the same address in Boquete as his current websites. If he's not breaking the law then I'm sure he'd be willing to talk to your friendly local DEA agents on things like money laundering, tax evasion, your "e-diamond ATM card" and all kinds of other really cool consumer products that this guy offers up to his customers (victims.) My advice would be to go pick his ass up now, just on general principles, and then do the audit trails later. You can hold him on the diamond smuggling charges while you're sniffing out the tax evasion and money laundering stuff. His lawfirm in Boquete has already firmly rolled over on his ass, and I'm sure they will cooperate with investigators while this dude sweats it out in La Joyita. La Joyita, now that's ironic.

Copyright 2006 by Don Winner. No one else out there has this all tied together so if you want to use it, go ahead just please be sure to provide a reference or a link back to this article and the original sources quoted within. Have a great time, and let's see how this one pans out.


La Prensa Article from 1 November 2006 in Spanish


Diamantes iban hacia Chiriquí

Una fuente dijo que las piedras preciosas iban a una fundación ligada a la firma Mossack Fonseca.

Por un millón de dólares hay que pagar 150 mil dólares en impuestos.

LA PRENSA/Jihan Rodríguez

REQUISA. Los 45 diamantes venían en un paquete de DHL junto con una factura por casi 77 mil dólares. 758928

José Somarriba Hernández

La confiscación de 45 diamantes de contrabando, provenientes de Johannesburgo, Sudáfrica, es la primera de este tipo en Panamá, según informó el director general de Aduanas, Daniel Delgado Diamante.

De acuerdo con el funcionario, "el cargamento de gemas iba dirigido a una fundación radicada en Chiriquí, inscrita en el Registro Público, pero que no tiene mayor actividad empresarial o comercial".

Una fuente oficial informó que las piedras preciosas venían en un paquete con una guía dirigida a Fundi Projects & Dist, además tenía como guía madre a Ram International Transport.

El informante dijo que los diamantes estaban consignados a la firma forense Mossack & Fonseca, bajo la cual aparece la fundación Co-Boquete Caullin Foundation, según un documento hallado en la valija.

El cargamento de diamantes fue traído por la empresa de carga aérea DHL dentro de un paquete pequeño y, al momento de abrirlo, los agentes de la Dirección General de Aduanas (DGA) hallaron, junto a la mercancía, una factura por 76 mil 901 dólares. El monto pagado fue de 61 dólares de flete.

Delgado Diamante indicó que expertos en la materia estiman que el precio real de los diamantes está por encima de un millón de dólares, carga por la que debieron haber pagado un aproximado de 150 mil dólares de impuesto.

Por el caso hay cuatro personas bajo investigación, un estadounidense, cuyos padres residen en Chiriquí, un mensajero y dos abogados, estos últimos pertenecientes a la firma forense mencionada.

Se intentó conocer la versión de Ramón Fonseca Mora, socio del bufete, pero no respondió las llamadas.

Los diamantes se depositaron en una bóveda del Banco Nacional de Panamá.


Original exchange between DHL and La Prensa in Spanish:

Aclaración sobre diamantes

1 DE NOVIEMBRE. Le dirigimos la presente en nuestra condición de representantes legales de DHL Aero Expreso, S.A., en referencia a la noticia publicada en la edición del miércoles 1 de noviembre de2006 en la página 8A, bajo el título: "Evasión fiscal. Diamantes iban hacia Chiriquí", y firmada por el periodista José Somarriba, para aclarar que el subtítulo que aparece debajo de la foto. Allí se expresa "los 45 diamantes venían en un paquete de DHL".

Eso es incorrecto, ya que ni la guía aérea ni el envoltorio o paquete en el que venía los diamantes pertenecen a DHL. En consecuencia, los referidos diamantes no llegaron a Panamá en un paquete de DHL. Nuestra empresa solamente es el transportista de hecho, es decir, el que transportó el embarque de Curazao a Panamá, mas no es el transportista contractual, que celebró el contrato de transporte aéreo con el expedidor en Johannesburgo.

Félix H. Picardi C.

Presidente y Representante Legal

DHL Aero Expreso, S.A.

Nota de la defensora: El periodista recibió la información consignada en la noticia de una fuente oficial, un boletín de prensa emitido por la Dirección de Aduanas. En la nota de Aduanas dice textualmente: "Se informó que el paquete con los diamantes estaba amparado con la guía aérea N° 07456855610 de la Compañía DHL (...)". Esto fue lo que el periodista respondió a los representantes de la compañía cuando se le cuestionó sobre la referencia a DHL en la nota.

En una segunda comunicación, el Sr. Picardi expresó: "(...) consideramos que en el ejercicio de un periodismo responsable se debe verificar la veracidad y corrección de la información suministrada por la fuente y que debe primar el interés del lector por una información veraz. (...).La guía 07456855610 no pertenece a DHL, cuyas guías comienzan con el número 992. (...) DHL Aero Expreso, S.A. no niega que transportó el embarque desde Curazao a Panamá, pero este hecho no hace que el referido embarque sea nuestro".


(Original 2 November El Siglo Article in Spanish)

Caso de diamantes

Firma se sacude

Milerick Alvendas

Aún cuando administrativos de la compañía MOSSACK FONSECA enviaron una nota aclaratoria sobre los 45 diamantes incautados por Aduanas el pasado 26 de octubre, se conoció que Ramón Fonseca y Mario Vlieq serán llamados a rendir declaratoria ante este hecho que aparentemente es una evasión de impuestos de parte de los dueños de la mercancía.

Dice la nota: "A través de nuestras oficinas ubicadas en Boquete, Chiriquí, atendimos a Rodney Spiller (ciudadano norteamericano) quien constituyó la empresa The Caullin Foundations, fundación privada del cual MOSSACK FONSECA funge únicamente como agente residente".

Para el día 24 de octubre –continuaban explicando— ellos reciben una llamada telefónica en Boquete de una compañía courier, informando sobre la llegada de un paquete a nombre de dicha compañía, por lo cual la compañía rechaza ir a retirar.

Posteriormente, aparece Thomas Brockman (amigo de Rodney quien con anterioridad había sido presentado con miembros de la compañía) allí, Brockman indica que estaba en espera de un paquete y deseaba que se le comunicara cuándo llegaba y deseaba que ellos MOSSACK FONSECA se hicieran cargo de retirar, a lo cual –dice la nota— la abogada accedió ignorando por completo el contenido del paquete, que resultó ser 45 diamantes pulidos provenientes de Sudáfrica.

La nota finaliza indicando que los diamantes que mantiene Aduanas confiscados no son de MOSSACK FONSECA y que ellos sólo se limitaron a realizar un trabajo y que como firma seria y responsable no van a tirar por la borda más de 30 años como empresa, razón por la cual cooperarán hasta lo último con Aduanas para esclarecer todo.


This is the article from the Critica that was published on 2 November 2006:

Incautan 45 diamantes

William Sala | Crítica


La Dirección General de Aduanas decomisó ayer 45 diamantes procedentes de Johannesburgo, Sudáfrica, cuyo valor se estimó en más de un millón de dólares y que habrían ingresado de contrabando a través de DHL en un paquete con la leyenda "sin valor comercial".

La mercancía tenía como destino una fundación en la provincia de Chiriquí. "Se puede estar frente a un delito de contrabando", expresó el director de Aduanas, Daniel Delgado, tras señalar que un estadounidense de 24 años se responsabilizó de la carga.

La incautación se produjo el jueves, en la sección de carga del Aeropuerto Internacional de Tocumen. El mensajero de una firma de abogados opositores, era el encargado de retirar la mercancía.

El estadounidense manifestó que los diamantes eran una muestra valorada en $20 mil, pero dos miembros de la firma de abogados que representan a la fundación, alegaron que desconocían que el paquete traía diamantes, pues esperaban unos documentos.

Los funcionarios de Aduanas creyeron en un principio que se trataba de una mercancía sin valor comercial, pero luego se encontró un recibo por $76 mil. Por la mercancía se pagó un flete de $61 sin los impuestos aduaneros que se estiman en $200 mil.

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