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Thursday, April 17 2014 @ 06:13 AM EDT

Welcome to Panama-Guide.com

Panama Guide is the #1 English Language web site about the Republic of Panama. There are currently 23,418 articles in our ever-expanding database and we update daily so check back often. More than 7,000 people visit Panama-Guide.com every day to follow current events and to use the other resources available. We provide fresh English language Panama news daily, as well as information about all of the other things you need to know if you plan to visit or live here. We focus on those topics and issues which are of greatest importance to the English speaking expatriate community. And if you can't find what you need to know, we take requests. Welcome aboard, and tell your friends.

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Serial Killer Javier Martin Went On Trial For Murder Today in Panama

Expat TalesBy Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com - Javier Martin, the Spaniard who killed the Frenchman Jean Pierre Bouhard and the American Don North in early 2011 went on trial this morning, charged with murder, robbery, the illegal use of stolen credit cards, and weapons charges. (more)

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Martinelli Gives Mi Bus An Ultimatum - Contract Will Be Cancelled If Service Does Not Improve

Cars & TransportationThe president, Ricardo Martinelli, gave an ultimatum to the Mi Bus company due to the constant complaints received about bad service from Metrobus by users who spend hours at bus stops, waiting to board a bus to take them to their destinations. (more)

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Martinelli Didn't Have Anything To Do With The Extortion Case in Italy

Panama NewsThe government spokesman Luis Eduardo Camacho said today on the TVN morning news broadcast that President Ricardo Martinelli has no relation to case against Valter Lavitola for extortion in Italy. (more)

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Don James Foundation - The "Not So Petty" Cash Fund of Juan Carlos Varela

Casinos & GamblingMichelle Lasso moved more than 27 million dollars through the Don James Foundation, chaired by Jaime Lasso, who Juan Carlos Varela appointed as the Panamanian Consul to South Korea when he became the Vice President and Foreign Minister, according to documents published last night on the website of the Miami based Spanish language newspaper, the Diario Las Americas. (more)

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The Documents Linking Panamanian Presidential Candidate (To Money Laundering)

Casinos & GamblingMultiple checks were made ​​out to the Vice President of Panama Juan Carlos Varela, who is also the presidential candidate of the Panameñista political party for the upcoming election, through accounts in several banks located in Panama, with funds derived from illegal online gambling operations, according to information obtained by Diario Las Americas. (more)

Editor's Comment: (You're really going to want to see this one - the "torpedo" that will sink the presidential campaign of Juan Carlos Varela - complete with copies of the checks he cashed...)

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Financial Analysis Unit Official Could Go To Prison If They Disclosed Official Information

CorruptionOfficials of the Financial Analysis Unit (UAF) are required by law to safeguard the information they learn or obtain in the performance of their duties, and whoever does not comply with this requirement could be sentenced to between three to five years in prison, according to the Penal Code. (more)

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Man gets supervised release in NY gambling case

Casinos & GamblingALBANY, N.Y. — The ringleader of an illegal online gambling operation who laundered millions of dollars was sentenced Tuesday to three years of supervised release by a federal judge in upstate New York.

Philip Gurian, of Boca Raton, Fla., received time served and was ordered to pay a $100,000 fine for conspiracy to launder money.

Gurian laundered at least $8 million through co-defendant Michele Lasso, who was sentenced earlier this month to probation and was detained by immigration officials for deportation to her native Panama.

"I am going to live a productive and peaceful life," Gurian told the judge after apologizing to the court and his family.

Gurian, 52, has been in custody since his April 2013 arrest. As part of his release, U.S. District Court Judge Mae D'Agostino prohibited him from going to locations where gambling is the focus and from possessing a computer or Internet capable device.

This isn't the first time Gurian has had trouble with the law. Court papers show that Gurian fled to Europe after being involved in a criminal matter linked to the mob and was found using a British passport with a fake name at a crossing between France and Switzerland. He was also involved in a civil dispute and fled to Canada.

D'Agostino says the $8 million to $10 million Gurian forfeited is "just the tip of the iceberg," going on to say that wire taps caught Gurian boasting that he made $150,000 a day from the illegal online gambling operation. Court transcripts show that he had bank accounts in at least 10 states and at least 6 countries.

As part of his sentencing, Gurian is also forced to file tax returns from 2009 to 2012.

Relatives and friends of Gurian said he is planning on writing a book.

Editor's Comment: Panamanian authorities have documents proving more than $30 million dollars in deposits to these accounts. According to the UAF and the Diario Las Americas, these funds were used to finance the presidential election campaign of the candidate for the Panameñista political party, Juan Carlos Varela. Michello Lasso is the daughter of Varela's cousin.

The Diario Las Americas had previously reported Gurian was sentenced to 20 years in prison in this case, which is obviously incorrect.

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Miss. man pleads not guilty in bankruptcy fraud

Expat TalesBy JEFF AMY - JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Jackson man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal charges that he defrauded his bankrupt business of more than $9 million.

Federal prosecutors said that after William "Butch" Dickson company, Community Home Financial Services, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the 57-year-old wired nearly $9.1 million from company accounts to a bank in Panama. Prosecutors say he also sent mortgage checks the company had collected to Central America.

Court papers say the bankruptcy trustee in charge of protecting funds for the company's creditors demanded Dickson return the money but he didn't comply.

A federal magistrate in Miami ordered Dickson held without bond after he was expelled from Panama on March 12 and returned to the United States. A hearing was set Thursday for Dickson to challenge his detention.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlos Tanner told U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Ball Tuesday that prosecutors believe Dickson is flight risk if released from the Madison County jail, where he's being held. Joe Holloman, one of Dickson's lawyers, said after the hearing that he would present evidence Thursday showing why Dickson is not a flight risk.

The indictment charges Dickson with six counts of bankruptcy fraud, six counts of bank fraud and five counts of wire fraud. If convicted, he could face decades in prison and millions of dollars in fines. Prosecutors also want him to forfeit the money in question.

Community Home was in the business of collecting mortgage payments on several thousand accounts. The company filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2012, claiming nearly $45 million in assets and $30 million in liabilities. Dickson was left in charge of the company and its bank accounts, but wasn't supposed to make certain kinds of transfers without permission, as is typical in a Chapter 11 proceeding.

But court papers say that starting in November, Dickson began sending money out of the country, himself traveling to Costa Rica in January. Prosecutors also allege that the company began directing customers to send loan payments to a Las Vegas address, where they were boxed up and sent to Costa Rica. After the bankruptcy trustee discovered the Las Vegas address, prosecutors say the company directed payments to a Miami address.

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