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Guatemala Banking Versus Panama Banking

Guatemala Banking Versus Panama Banking

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This is going to illustrate some of the finer legal and asset protection points about banking in both jurisdictions, Guatemala and Panama. Many of you worked hard to get what you have and do not have the time to go back and earn it again, so please pay careful attention.

http://www.panamalaw.org
This is going to illustrate some of the finer legal and asset protection points about banking in both jurisdictions, Guatemala and Panama. Many of you worked hard to get what you have and do not have the time to go back and earn it again, so please pay careful attention.

http://www.panamalaw.org

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Published by: Aurelia Masterson of Panamalaw.org on Aug 10, 2009
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12/14/2009

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Guatemala Banking Versus Panama Banking
http://www.panamalaw.org
Introduction
– This is going to illustrate some of the finer legal and asset protection points about banking in both jurisdictions, Guatemala and Panama. Many of you worked hard to get what you haveand do not have the time to go back and earn it again, so please pay careful attention.
Anonymous Corporations
– Both countries have them. They are called Societad Anonima,abbreviated as S.A. at the end of the corporate name.
Lawyer Acting as Signatory
– This is not allowed in Panama but is allowed in Guatemala.
Tax Treaties
– Both Panama and Guatemala have none, but Panama is in MLAT’s (Mutual legalAssistance Treaties), which allows for the sharing of information regarding taxes if the offense isconsidered criminal by the country requesting the information. Panama used to not consider taxoffenses to be criminal but they changed this in recent years thus opening the door for the requesting of tax information offenses through the MLAT treaties.
Sharing of Information for Tax Offenses
– Panama will share through the MLAT as described above.Guatemala will not share information for tax offenses even if it is construed to be criminal tax matter. No tax information sharing, period with Guatemala.
MLAT
– Guatemala has no MLAT treaties, Panama does. The USA has 19 MLAT’s. Here is a list of them:Argentina, Bahamas, Canada, Hungary, Italy, Jamaica, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Panama,Philippines, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom (Cayman Islands), UnitedKingdom, Uruguay.To check our source go here:http://library.findlaw.com/1997/Dec/1/127851.html Bear in mind information sharing can come about as a result of a Tax Information Exchange Agreementas well.
Civil Protection
– In Panama it is not easy to have a foreigner come and take your funds away, but notthat hard either. They need to hire local counsel and file a case in the Panama Courts. Prestigious lawfirms tend to do pretty good here. Here is the bad news. If the people suing you do not know the nameof your corporation or foundation they can still attack your assets if you are the signatory of the bank account. How? Panama allows the courts to send a fax to every bank in Panama with a sequestro order asking them to hold your funds. A sequestro means your funds are segregated, sort of like sequesteringa jury, which means to keep the jury separate. The funds are set aside. A lien is a similar term. The plaintiff files his case in Panama. They present whatever allegations they want. If the judge accepts itthey post a bond, usually 10%. Then all your funds get tied up until the trial, think 3-5 years. This canall happen without you being present or even knowing any of this is taking place until you find out
 
your funds are frozen in the bank. The damages the one suing claims to have incurred do not have toline up with the amount of money frozen. The person filing against you does not even have to physically come to Panama to file.In Guatemala there is no such thing as faxing sequestro orders to all the banks. One would have to havethe specifics on the bank account to proceed. This is something that is extremely rare and just aboutunheard of in Guatemala. The courts do not like to let civil matters from other countries work throughtheir court system. Corporate and foundation assets are considered to belong to the corporation or foundation not the signatory in Guatemala. This does not go on in Guatemala.
Peter Gordon vs. HSBC
– We are going to discuss a recent case in Panama. There was a guy namedPeter Gordon. He lives in Panama. He posted on a small yahoo group that HSBC has bad customer service. He signed on a foundation bank account, which had $5,000,000 in it. HSBC sequestered hisfoundation bank account. In my opinion I do not see how HSBC could show $5,000,000 worth of damages from posting in a small Yahoo group. So the amount sequestered can be out of proportion tothe actual damages. Peter went to the Supreme Court to get the sequestro released. The Supreme Courtupheld the sequestro. So right here we can see the punitive nature of a sequestro. The wealthy can use itto bring a less influential party to their knees.It is also alleged by Peter that the police came to his home with a court order and removed his homecontents as well. So it appears that sequestering household contents is also possible in Panama. So nowyou have no household contents and no access to your funds, all without a day in court just because theother party filed on you and posted a bond. This was a foundation bank account. Foundations inPanama have no owner. It is a good question how the Supreme Court justified this sequestro since thefunds could not have belonged to the signatory on the account since it was a foundation with noowners. Apparently this decision has far reaching conclusions regarding the security of a PanamaPrivate Interest Foundation. For those of you who wish to see documentation on this do a Googlesearch for Peter Gordon HSBC. There are 2-3 listings of reports in Google.For further skepticshere is a PDF download of the Supreme Court decision upholding the sequestro of Peter Gordon’s funds.It is in Spanish since legal processes in Panama are conducted in Spanish. You can run it through Babelto get it into computer English. If I did the translation skeptics would accuse me of posting aninaccurate translation. This is a big black eye for Panama and this article is not going to be wellreceived.Guatemala never ever had any similar case like this. To get a sequestro in Guatemala you would haveto show a violation of law that took place in Guatemala, not something that happened abroad. Youwould need documentation like a contract that was breached. The sequestered amount cannot exceedthe documented damages. If there were a $7000 claim against you for an unpaid medical bill, theywould not be able to sequestro a $50,000 car or a bank account with $25,000 in it. They couldsequestro $7,000 from the bank account. A foreigner getting a sequestro for events that transpired outof Guatemala where just a Guatemala bank account and corporation was used is not going to happen.
Civil Cases Converted into Criminal Cases
– In Panama one can file criminal and civil case together.In fact one in a foreign country can retain a Panama lawyer to file a criminal and/or civil case on his behalf without him ever having to come to Panama. This creates an effective immunity from filing afalse police report, perjury, obstruction of justice etc.
 
In my opinion this sort of practice encourages lying since there is no downside for the liar. People getextradited out of Panama all the time but do you ever read in the papers that Panama is spending moneyto extradite people back to Panama. They do it for big political figures and major criminals. Extraditionis expensive and they do not have the budget to hire local lawyers and fight in the foreign courts unlessit is a big case. However one could file a criminal case on someone signing on a Panama bank accountand then when the person came to Panama they could be arrested and held. The allegations could bemade by a foreigner who never sets foot in Panama. It gets better. Panama has something called preventive detention. If they arrest a person the person can be held in a special jail pending the trial,which can be several years. This just might coerce an unjust settlement, you think?
The Richard Lehman Case
- Here we have a Florida attorney who assisted a affluent Americanexpatriate client married to a member of an influential Panama family in setting up a PanamaFoundation which he funded with $50,000,000 to prevent malnutrition in poor children in Panama. The benefactor was named William Lucom. The influential wife apparently wanting the money haslaunched a simply awful legal and extra legal campaign against this lawyer for trying to get the moneyinto the bellies of the poor children of Panama. Here is a cut and paste summary of the story whichcame from this page of a prominent Panama newspaper English version:
 Also if you would like to read the latest compliant filed 03/09 with the Organization for AmericanStates it is found here in English:http://www.lucomchildren.com/humanrights/petition_humanRightsViolation.html This matter should have been a big embarrassment for Panama but it is still ongoing and has not beenshut down, not unlike the Peter Gordon vs. HSBC case. Why does Panama let such things go onunchecked?
Richard Lehman sues Panama
03-11-2009 | BUSINESS WIRE
The Lucom’s legacy would give the poor children of Panama $50 million
Panama Star
BOCA RATON, FLORIDA. Richard Lehman, a Florida attorney who was falselycharged with murder and over a dozen other crimes in Panama for his efforts to defend a $50 millionfood aid donation, has filed a human rights lawsuit against the country with the Inter-AmericanCommission on Human Rights (Organization of American States).“Panama continues to foster an atmosphere of corruption in the legal system which has caused it to bein violation of several human rights treaties,” said Lehman, a tax attorney and executor of the estate of Wilson Lucom, an American expatriate who died in Panama in 2006. “Not only have my human rights been violated, but the largest private donation ever made in Panama’s history is now at risk of vanishing completely.”Lehman has spent the last two and a half years – and over $2 million of his own money – defendingLucom’s legally sanctioned will in Panama, which gave a $50 million donation to prevent childhood

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