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Caja de Ahorras Savings Bank Manager Andrés Farrugia Resigns After Media Probes


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Savings Bank manager resigns after media probes

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Posted 23/04/2021

The general manager of the  Savings Bank, (Caja de Ahorras)  Andrés Farrugia , announced on Thursday, April 22, that he was making his position available “to maintain the good name of my family, which has always been associated with work and discipline.”

He said that he decided to resign because he intends to file legal actions against the media and does not want that to hinder the good administration of the organization.

Farrugia said that he has already informed the Board of Directors which was meeting "in the next room," but none of its members joined him at the press conference.

Farrugia said that he will sue La Prensa and the medium Foco, for alleged damages.

 Earlier, Foco had reported that Farrugia had acquired a property in a millionaire project, on some artificial islands in the Bay of Panama. Farrugia limited himself to saying that he has a real estate investment company, "which handles million-dollar projects, I have million-dollar investments with private shareholders."

He stressed that his declaration of assets is in the Office of the Comptroller General, although by law, it is not available to the public, unless he voluntarily decides to disclose it.

The resignation comes after La Prensa published on April 8 that the CA opened an account in the name of former President Ricardo Martinelli, in December 2020, by direct authorization from Farrugia, despite the warnings presented by compliance officers of the state bank, given the client's profile, as a “PEP” (politically exposed person), in investigations of corruption and money laundering that are underway in Panama and their mention in other investigations abroad.

On opening the account to Martinelli, Farrugia noted that the bank did not skip governance or approval scales. He affirmed that he also does not have the power to convict a person that the law "has not convicted."

On December 23, 2020, Martinelli's account received an international transfer from Watervista Properties, LLC., owner of the former president's mansion in Coral Gables, Miami The amount of the transfer to his account in the CA rose to $6.7 million.

The $6.7 million was, in turn, distributed among four private interest foundations that opened additional accounts in the CA in January. All of them were approved for fixed-term deposits, while Martinelli received, from the bank, a credit card with a limit of $30,000. The general manager of CA, according to the sources consulted by La Prensa even assigned a bank official to personally attend to all the requirements of the new client.

The foundations that received the money from the transfer of the $6.7 million were created in January of this year by lawyers linked to the Martinelli family.

Aurora Muradas Fraiz, Úrsula Banz, María del Sol Rivera, and Ricardo Martinelli were accepted as clients of the bank despite the fact that all four have been investigated in the Odebrecht file.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/savings-bank-manager-resigns-after-media-probes

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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Caja de Ahorras Savings Bank Manager Andrés Farrugia Resigns After Media Probes
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OPINION: The bank of friends

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Posted 24/04/2021

The Savings Bank is a state bank, which is governed by the rules of the market as if it were another in the square. But there have been occasions when, because it is a state bank, some take advantage of it and its behavior ceases to be that of another bank to be the bank of friends. It is not something new, and there are cases that clearly illustrate how the criteria for granting loans or allowing questionable banking operations have been political, totally removed from the best interests of the bank and its account holders; they have even been abusive. These are cases, for example, in which citizens must be aware of the bank's operations since they have the right to know whether or not the trust placed in its officials is abused. The shareholders of the Savings Bank and the National Bank of Panama are the citizens of this country, and as much as some officials wanted to hide behind bank secrecy, the management of the money of savers is not. It must be transparent because a bank must generate trust, and that is generated, precisely, by its collaborators. Without it, there will be no customers. And no one deposits a real in a bank that is perceived to be untrustworthy. LA PRENSA, Apr. 24.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/opinion-the-bank-of-friends

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Cortizo accepts bank chief’s resignation

Posted 24/04/2021

President Cortizo has accepted the resignation of Andrés Farrugia as head of the state savings bank Caja de Ahorros, after journalistic investigations put his management under scrutiny.

“The answer is very simple: in my administration you have to work as a team, in a disciplined way, especially executing the investment budget, and in a transparent way. The manager's decision is a very personal decision and I have accepted it ” said Cortizo  in response to questions about the resignation.

On Thursday, April 22, Farrugia announced that he was making his position as manager of the Savings Bank (CA) available. He held a press conference in which he reported that he would sue the La Prensa and explained that he had already proceeded against the digital site Foco and the photojournalist Mauricio Valenzuela.

Earlier that day, Foco published that Farrugia had bought a property on Ocean Reef Island, in Punta Pacifica, which cost $2.5 million, and that he previously lived in a duplex in the Betania district., Farrugia justified his assets and said that he has a real estate investment company, "which handles million dollar projects."

The accusation against La Prensa would be linked to a publication on April 8, which revealed that the CA opened an account in the name of former President Ricardo Martinelli, in December 2020, by direct authorization from Farrugia, despite the warnings presented by officials of the compliance of the state bank, given that the client is a “PEP” (politically exposed person), due to the investigations on corruption and money laundering that are underway in Panama and their mention in other investigations for the same causes abroad.

Farrugia said that the bank did not skip governance or approval scales, and that it does not have the power to convict a person that the law "has not convicted."

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/cortizo-accepts-bank-chiefs-resignation

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