The recent media coverage, detailing the role of reputed Russian Organized Crime members, who were purchasers of most of the condominium apartments at Panama's Trump Ocean Club, fails to explain precisely how the developer, Roger Khafif, the CEO of Newland International Properties Corp., was able to obtain $220m in construction bond financing for the project. No discussion of the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower is complete without that information, as it reveals the presence of seed money of yet an additional organized crime group.
Mr. Khafif, who was obsessed with creating a Trump building in Panama City, swapped a property he owned for the tract that became the hotel site. He then needed to convince Bear Stearns & Co. to underwrite the bond issue, and for that he had to have purchase contracts, or options to purchase, in hand, with deposits, to demonstrate that he had buyers ready to close.
Though he we do not know how he accomplished this feat, he soon had a sufficient number of signed agreements to obtain the needed financing. The trouble is, most of the purchasers have been identified as members of Panama's powerful Syrian organized crime syndicate, which hides in the shadows, but influences much of what goes on, behind the scenes, in Panama.
This organization, whose members are descended from immigrants who came to Panama from a specific area in the Middle East, consists of seven major families, whose intermarried reach extends into every major bank, and every government agency. Roger Khafif's family is reportedly from Aleppo; connect the dots.
These individuals later sold their contracts at a huge profit, after Alex Ventura suggested that prices at the Trump be doubled. Without their seed money, and support, the Trump Ocean Club would have never been built.
This is the first of a series of articles exposing details of the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower project that have not been covered by conventional media.
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Consultant