Contributed by: Don WinnerA new version appeared in the Financial Pacific scandal, in which the former employee Mayte Pellegrini has linked the president Ricardo Martinelli with using inside information to manipulate shares in Petaquilla Minerals.
Yesterday, the company president, Rodrigo Esquivel, issued a statement in which he claims that "Petaquilla Minerals, LTD. is a public company listed on the stock exchange in Canada, with 220 million shares issued and outstanding, with about four thousand (4,000) shareholders in four (4) continents. The shares of this company are not traded on the Stock Exchange of Panama, transactions occur in the stock market in Toronto, New York and Frankfurt."
In addition, the memorandum states: "According to the records of the Register of Shares of Petaquilla Minerals, LTD., Mr. Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, the President of the Republic, has not been and is not a shareholder in this company, nor does he appear as a director of officer of any legal entity that is a shareholder of this company, nor have there been nor are there the presidents who preceded him."
The company's reaction came a day after the deputy minister of Mides, Niurka Palacios, said on Telemetro that "maybe" Martinelli had shares in Petaquilla, a statement she immediately recanted.
Meanwhile, Roberto Brenes, the executive vice president and manager of the Panama Stock Exchange, said the irregularities in this case is about the use of confidential information about the concession that was about to be given to Petaquilla Minerals so that the friends and relatives of the President could have bought shares in the company before they went up in price.
"Here there is no question whether or not the President has shares, the issue is the use of inside information to take advantage," he said. (Prensa)
Editor's Comment: On 7 September 2009 Richard Fifer had a private meeting with President Martinelli during which they discussed the future of the Petaquilla gold mining operation in Panama. Then someone purchased about 30 million shares of Petaquilla stock in September and October 2009. These purchases stand out because the normal volume on the stock is relatively low - at about 150,000 shares per day or so traded - so when there's a purchase of more than 10 million shares in one day that catches your attention, in hindsight. Then in early November 2009 Petaquilla announced that the government of Panama had granted them permission to begin operations and the price jumped from 22 cents per share to well over $1.20 per share. Anyone conducting even the most rudimentary investigation would start by closely examining the participants in those transactions to see if they had access to the information regarding the permission that was about to be granted to Petaquilla by the government of Panama.