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Saturday, April 20 2019 @ 02:46 PM UTC

"Otto" On Petaqilla and Me on Judicial Security in Panama

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By DON WINNER for - It's simply amazing the lengths some people will go. Some blogger going by the tag of "Otto" who refuses to use his real name or identify himself has decided to attack both me and the Petaquilla gold mining project in Panama. He claims they are lying about their intentions to start production in the month of December. The primary reason (he says) is that there are some 40 additional line items the company will have to comply with as part of the recently issued Environmental Impact Study issued by ANAM before they can begin production. But this guy represents a dangerous mix of being able to sound smart, just so long as no one checks out what he's saying. I took ten seconds to check just one of his claims and found him to be full of crap. (more)

Propping The Price? Today "Otto" alleged Petaquilla CEO Richard Fifer has been attempting to "prop up your own stock price by buying every single bid on any given day." He went on to say "note that of the eight trades completed in on Monday 8th December, eight (i.e. all) of them had a certain Richard Fifer as the buyer." The writer (whoever he is) is correct in that Richard Fifer purchased 53,500 shares on 8 December 2008 through eight transactions on the Toronto Stock Exchange. But, "Otto" incorrectly represented these purchases to reflect "every single bid on any given day." In fact, on 8 December 2008 there were a total of 81,700 shares of Petaquilla (PTQ) traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), or 28,200 more than purchased by Richard Fifer.

Insider Trading: The purchases of Petaquilla stock by Richard Fifer were reported publicly as part of the rules and regulations regarding Insider Trading. This is done to allow everyone to know what the company officials are doing with regards to purchases or sales of company stock as a means of oversight and control, and obviously there was no attempt to disguise or hide these purchases. What's the big secret there, "Otto"?

Why Buy Your Own Stock: "Otto" alleges Fifer wanted to "prop up" the price of the stock by purchasing 53,500 shares. But ask yourself, might there be some other reason why Petaquilla CEO Richard Fifer might want to scoop up a bunch of PTQ on the Toronto Stock Exchange now? Remember, they were recently granted an Environmental Impact Study by the Panamanian National Environmental Authority (ANAM) and they have been saying for months that they plan to begin production in December 2009. If they actually do produce their first ounce of gold and issue that press release, then you can most certainly expect the price of the stock to go up substantially. And allow me to say that's just my observation, for what it's worth.

I Own 100 Shares of PTQMF: By way of disclosure, I purchased just 100 shares of PTQMF at about .85 cents a share a long time ago. So, my initial $85 dollar investment in the company is now worth about $41 bucks the last time I checked. Clearly, my intention is to manipulate the price of the stock in order to dominate the world.

Why I Follow Petaquilla: I have been watching this Petaquilla operation for a long time mainly for one reason and one reason only - their mine represents a significant foreign direct investment potentially worth billions of dollars to the GDP of Panama that could create hundreds of direct and thousands of indirect jobs for the country. Panama has vast untapped mineral resources and for the first time companies like Petaquilla are willing to fight through the difficulties to potentially make the mine productive and bring those resources to fruition. A large, successful, and profitable operating gold mine in Panama would be an overall "plus" for the national economy, assuming, of course, that it's done in an environmentally responsible manner with proper oversight, and if environmental damage mitigation protocols are established and followed.

Petaquilla Has Not Paid Me A Dime: Also for the record and by way of disclosure, the Petaquilla company has never paid me a single red cent in any way, shape or form. I watch what they do carefully, read the news about what they are doing, form my own opinions, and then write about them. To be clear I do want to see these kinds of operations succeed, for the overall long-term good of the country. That's my opinion and why I follow developments related to the Petaquilla operation specifically and other mining operations in general. I don't "pump" Petaquilla, and even if I did, if you take investment advice from me you need to have your head examined. Following Warren Buffet around would be smart. Following me around would amount to investor suicide.

What If "Otto" is Right? Maybe this illusive and shadowy "Otto" character is right when he claims Petaquilla is flat-out lying when they say they will start production this month. One thing is certain - Petaquilla has been saying for years they will be starting production any time now. Who knows? I certainly do not, especially considering the legal and judicial environment in the Republic of Panama with regards to judicial security and the application of environmental law. One thing is certain - building and operating an open-pit gold mine in an area that was virgin rain forest is expensive, difficult, and creates significant environmental challenges. In short, it's "ugly" and there are many opportunities for accidents, spills, neglect, and mismanagement that could potentially result in long term and irreversible environmental damages.

The 40 Line Items in the EIA: According to "Otto" there are 40 additional line items in the Environmental Impact Study issued to Petaquilla that would prevent them from starting operations. Is he right? I don't know. The 40 line item thing is real, and maybe those details will actually prevent Petaquilla from starting production. Or maybe, they can both comply with the requirements of the EIA and also start production. Quite simply, I don't know. In fact, I don't think "Otto" does either, but he's not about to let that get in the way of a good rant.

Enter The Panamanian Supreme Court: Just last week the Panamanian Supreme Court overturned (struck down or annulled) the Environmental Impact Study (EIA) issued by Panama's National Environmental Authority (ANAM) for Phase II of the Red Frog Beach project in Bocas del Toro. Although Red Frog spent more than $400,000 to have the 700-page EIA produced, and the Director of the ANAM told me personally the document was the "best prepared and most comprehensive EIA that had ever been presented" to her organization, the Supreme Court decided to in effect cut the "balls" off of the ANAM. Apparently the Arnulfista branch of the Supreme Court led by Winston Spadafora is making political hay through environmental issues. The "charge" against projects like Red Frog and Petaquilla is being led by Winston Spadafora's sister Alida Spadafora, who is the Executive Director of the "Asociación Nacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza" (ANCON) (National Association for the Conservation of Nature). Check their website - the EIA for Petaquilla is squarely in their sights so it probably won't be long before the Supreme Court strikes that one down as well. Applaud the decision against Red Frog and you're applauding Winston Spadafora. Good luck with that.

What's Left of Judicial Security? This same Supreme Court also struck down an ARI resolution granting Herman Bern a concession to operate the Playa Bonita Hotel in Veracruz, but have you seen anyone moving out of there? Of course not - they are continuing to operate like normal and apparently everyone has basically blown off that Supreme Court decision. Has anything else happened in that case that I've missed? I don't think so. In Panama it's very hard if not impossible for large businesses to operate in this legal and judicial environment, because all it takes is one corrupt official to decide against you one way of the other, and you're screwed. If Petaquilla can't become a reality (granted, with all of its warts and flaws), then what can?

The Bad Old Days: The Panamanian Supreme Court should turn on CNN every once in awhile and realize that the global economy is headed for the proverbial melting pot - and that all Panamanians should fight for every dollar of Foreign Direct Investment they can find. Memories are short, I guess. Maybe another dose of the "crisis" we suffered through under Mireya Moscoso will remind everyone of what it's like. Back then we didn't have 11% growth in the GDP (2007) but rather a contraction of the economy. Unemployment was at 15% or higher and underemployment was worse. This issue of Judicial Security will become more critical for the Republic of Panama as we move deeper into this global financial morass.

Oh Yeah, "Otto" Whatever. The only thing worse than taking investment advice from me would me listening to some anonymous knucklehead who refuses to identify himself. He's smart enough to be able to make himself sound intelligent and well informed, but you would obviously be wise to double-check whatever he claims because he's clearly driving some kind of an agenda. But, you get to make that call...

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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"Otto" On Petaqilla and Me on Judicial Security in Panama | 8 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
"Otto" On Petaqilla and Me on Judicial Security in Panama
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 10 2008 @ 11:53 PM UTC

Want to see how good (or not) Otto Rock is at picking stocks?

"Otto" On Petaqilla and Me on Judicial Security in Panama
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 11 2008 @ 04:17 AM UTC

I own 550 shares of Petaqilla stock and have researched the company and it's goal independantly and have found them to be a forthright corporation. I agree with Don that Otto has some sort of agenda and is not forthright in presenting his true views, but rather slanting misinformation for his personal gain, whatever that may be. Otto needs to visit the site and have a reality check, moreover a realization of exactly what is going on at the mining location.....

Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, December 11 2008 @ 04:27 AM UTC

Hey I don't care what they do as long as they put up the money to fix what they tear down to find the gold. I don't want to see them rip down every tree on that land and rip the ground up, unless they, if found gold or not,, have the money put up to re plant and repair the damage they did to get to it.

and here's one more thing you all better think about,, don't allow them to pour chemicals into those river streams that our children play in and people drink from. a pound of gold is worth $$xx whats a pound of someones child going for???

we all understand there is a need to get it, but don't shit in our back yard and then leave. many times and we all know this, people like that, come in, rape the land all smiles, get what they want and then leave it when it plays out.

all we ask is that you clean up what it took to get it. leave it as you found it. dirt can be moved back, trees can be replanted, a child you made sick for the rest of thier lives or helped kill you can not replant or replace. and you may find that a father of that child might come find you

just do the right thing.

"Otto" On Petaqilla and Me on Judicial Security in Panama
Authored by: Don Winner on Thursday, December 11 2008 @ 01:50 PM UTC

In response to "lizardo" and "Otto's" ability to pick stocks - Who cares? You're missing the point.

First of all, who in their right mind would take advice from anyone who, for whatever reason, refuses to identify themselves or even do something so simple as to state their true name? I mean, exactly how desperate are people for stock picking advice from so-called "experts" anyway?

OK, let's accept as a given the premise that this "Otto" guy can pick stocks. So what? The discussion in this case is whether or not Petaquilla is going to start production anytime soon. "Otto's" argument is that the company is lying about their ability to begin gold production due to restrictions of 40 additional line items in the Environmental Impact Study issued to the company by ANAM in Panama. Based on those additional restrictions "Otto" claims the company is flat-out lying in that regard.

My argument is somewhat more simple. ANAM both fined Petaquilla $1.9 million dollars, and then three days later turned around and issued the Environmental Impact Study. As part of the deal Petaquilla has to pony up millions of dollars in guarantees and bonds to guarantee they will comply with the requirements stipulated in the Environmental Impact Study. And, it is my assumption (assuming, because I don't know) that those deposits, bonds, and guarantees will be covering the requirements established under those additional 40 line items in the Environmental Impact Study. "Otto" the stock picker did not address this angle at all.

I take this whole thing one step deeper by putting the issue of Petaquilla and ANAM into context within the sphere of current Panamanian environmental politics on the ground. And again, "Otto" the stock-picker didn't touch that angle, either.

ANAM is basically an arm of the Executive branch of government in Panama. If Panama's president Martin Torrijos picks up the phone and applies some pressure, then I'm sure ANAM will find a way to "accommodate" Petaquilla's application for an Environmental Impact Study. Obviously, that's what happened. The government of Panama is going to let Petaquilla proceed because they want them to proceed.

But, the Panamanian Supreme Court and specifically Winston Spadafora are most definitely NOT part of Martin Torrijos' executive branch of government. They demonstrated that recently by striking down two important and highly visible decisions made by Executive elements. The first was the decision against Herman Bern and the ARI resolution on Kobbe Beach, and second was the decision against Red Frog and the ANAM Environmental Impact Study for their phase II.

The obvious conflict of interest that exists with Winston Spadafora making decisions supported by his sister, the Executive Director of ANCON, is the key here. The Supreme Court is having a great time chopping down large investment projects in Panama like Playa Bonita, Red Frog Beach, and (soon) Petaquilla for political reasons. The message is "come back and apply again after the national elections in May 2009."

"Otto" basically missed the point. ANAM is giving Petaquilla the green light, but in the end Petaquilla might get stopped anyway thanks to Panamanian politicians taking advantage of their their personal (blood) connections, influence, and power to leverage environmental issues to get what they want. Damn shame, really. All of these projects would have created a whole lot of jobs and income for Panamanians in the long run.

You claim "Otto" can pick stocks. So what? The fundamental elements of his analysis in this case are significantly flawed.


"Otto" On Petaqilla and Me on Judicial Security in Panama
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 22 2009 @ 01:51 PM UTC

Many talks and in english,what about spanish so the regular poeple from panama can understand what their land is going through.IM A PANAMANIAN CIUDADANO,and all of you are talking locals and nationals for a ride, lies,brain washing etc,but the poeple of panama need a allied who can spoil this mining ogros and make them go home for good.I DONT' CARE what you think you own in panama,but us the natives from panama will have the last word on it because i will let them know how they are being robbed from their own back yard resources,from their grandchilds,you canadians stink,so are the gringos from cerro chorcha in my CHIRIQUI you poeple must go home and love your pockets ,meaning dont waist your money any longer and stop bullshitting the world about something that doesnt belong to you,we know by fact of matters that the people from petaqilla ltd are liying 2 the public about their findings;after all my father works with the panamanian government and i know they are liying to the panama government as well with their findings and ways of handling the work,you poeple have devastated our forest and the rivers,and yet MR. PAREDES MAKES MORE CONCESSIONS FOR MINING? this guy really is going out of our government or else the chorchians and petaquillian will take accion because im working on it,convincing poeple teaching them how to love non renobables resources like our gold,that belongs to the childrens of CEMACO,PENONOME,URRACA,AMONGST OTHERS, NOT YOU. FOREIGNERS,ECOTERRORISTS;IT IS OUR MINERALS not yours we the natives never sold anything to you;we resisted the spaniards,and we will resist you too by the spirit of CACIQUE CEMACO(R.I.P.),SO THERE will be arrests again and again and again but you cant not succed in our explotation,so dont try this at my home,why would you kick a rock on bare foot? PATRIA O INEXISTENCIA GO HOME CANADIANS,or we will take accion starting delivering bad news to the stock exchange in toronto about petaquilla minerals. We dont want to sale our lands for yuor miserable chosas or so called local hospital,or the marcas you have done to our forest;the trails that you call roads so tell the world that the native from panama and regular panamanians dont want you in our lands comprenden? HOMELAND OR INEXISTENCIA