Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee

Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (commonly known by its abbreviation Alcogal) is a law firm based in Panama. Founded in 1985, the firm represents several multinational companies that operate in Panama and was chosen as the Central American law firm of the year by Chambers Global in 2007 as well as in 2013.[1] Jaime Alemán Healy is the managing partner and founder. The firm has offices in several countries aside from Panama, including in tax havens such as The Bahamas, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Seychelles, and Switzerland. Other office locations include New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay. The firm is affiliated with the international Meritas network.

Logo of ALCOGAL

The firm was named as one of the largest sources of leaked documents in the Pandora Papers scandal.[2][3][4]

In 2021, Alcogal was found to have founded around 200 letterbox companies in Panama and other countries for Banca Privada d'Andorra, a little-known private bank in Andorra, several of which were later used to transfer funds associated with political corruption to Venezuela. In 2015, when United States authorities accused the managers of the Andorran bank of accepting exorbitant commissions to help customers launder $4.2 billion, Alcogal withdrew. The private bank's clients included former high-ranking officials of Venezuela's state-owned oil company Petróleos de Venezuela. Some of the Venezuelans involved in the scandal were also themselves clients of Alcogal, for whom the firm had set up offshore companies. Alcogal quickly resigned from their position as the legal representative of these companies.[3]

ClienteleEdit

International clients of the law firm include Citibank, the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the Bank of Nova Scotia, as well as Credit Suisse.[3] The firm has worked for a number of Central and South American banks as well, including Banco General, Banistmo, Bancolombia, Banesco, St. George's Bank & Co., Caja de Ahorros, Banco Aliado, Credicorp Bank, and Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior (BLADEX).[5]

Alcogal has also worked in the past with companies and individuals involved in large corruption networks, including the global bribery operation of Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht SA (now known as Novonor). Alcogal managed the shell company of Brazilian football official José María Marín, who was involved in the Fifagate international football corruption scandal.[6] María Marín was later sentenced to prison for bribery. [3]

According to the ICIJ, Alcogal also set up two companies for Juan Carlos Varela (former president of Panama, suspected by the press of having financed his election with money laundering funds, as well as for his brother, father and other relatives).1 Nasry Juan 'Tito' Asfura, a candidate for president of Honduras in 2021, also (in 2006) had a company called Karlane Overseas SA registered in Panama by Alcogal, whose 10,000 shares minus one were transferred in 2007 to Asfura, notes the ICIJ. Jordan's King Abdullah, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta have also used the company's services for tax evasion.[7]

Alcogal helped Gennady Timchenko, a Russian oligarch and close confidante of Vladimir Putin, set up a shell company.[8]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Banking & Finance, Panama, Latin America | Chambers Rankings".
  2. ^ "Who are the firms at the heart of the Pandora Papers?". ICIJ. 3 October 2021. Archived from the original on 2021-10-03. Retrieved 3 October 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d Medina, Brenda (3 October 2021). "When Latin America's elite wanted to hide their wealth, they turned to this Panama firm – ICIJ". ICIJ. Archived from the original on 2021-10-03. Retrieved 3 October 2021.
  4. ^ ICIJ [@ICIJorg] (3 October 2021). "They include Alcogal, a go-to law firm of the Latin American elite has created at least 14,000 shell companies and trusts in tax havens, more than any other offshore provider in the leaked documents" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  5. ^ "Alemán Cordero Galindo & Lee - Panama - Firm Profile". IFLR1000. Archived from the original on 2021-10-05. Retrieved 2021-10-05.
  6. ^ "Escritório do Panamá opera offshores para mais de 160 políticos na AL". Poder360 (in Brazilian Portuguese). 2021-10-03. Retrieved 2021-10-05.
  7. ^ "Alcogal, el despacho de abogados panameño que ayudaba a las élites latinoamericanas a ocultar su riqueza". BBC News Mundo.
  8. ^ "Who helps Russian oligarchs secretly buy jets, yachts and other luxury playthings? - ICIJ". 2022-04-11. Retrieved 2022-04-12.

External linksEdit