Saturday, September 29, 2007

Panama Attorney Participates in Trusts & Estates Panel

Attorney Alvaro Aguilar participated in a panel discussion on trust & estate laws before members of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) International Law and Practice Section.
Panama City, Panama, September 29, 2007 --( Lombardi, Aguilar & Garcia ( attorney Alvaro Aguilar spoke at a panel on trust & estate laws before members of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) International Law and Practice Section ( and Peruvian attorneys attending its Fall meeting.
Attorneys Michael Galligan of Phillips Nizer LLP and Glenn Fox of Alston & Bird served as co-chairs of the panel. Perspective on the applicability of Peru, Argentina and Panama law were provided by Alfredo Vidal of Miranda & Amado, Diego Fissore of G Breuer and Mr Aguilar, respectively.
The panel dealt with a practical case of a US-Latin American couple with residence and investments in two countries. Panama law provides alternatives such as corporations, trusts and charitable foundations for asset protection, probate, estate planning and succession purposes.

About Alvaro Aguilar
Alvaro Aguilar is a partner at Lombardi Aguilar & Garcia and practises in the areas of corporate taxation, real estate and intellectual property matters.
Mr Aguilar has advised multinational and local clients in real estate purchases and development, international mergers and acquisitions, tax planning, real estate investment funds, joint ventures, trusts, foundations, software licensing, e-commerce, and electronic transfer of funds. Recent transactions include the purchase of real estate by a US retailer, purchase by a US finance entity of a stake in a Central American bank, tax arrangements and sale of a property to a Panama-US joint venture and structuring of a property management joint venture for US investors.
He graduated from Universidad Santa Maria law school in Panama and earned his LLM in International Trade & Banking from Washington College of Law in Washington, DC.
About Lombardi Aguilar & Garcia
Lombardi Aguilar & Garcia was created as an alternative for clients worldwide who seek fast, innovative and effective solutions to their legal problems. The firm currently provides services to individual and corporate clients in Panama as well in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Its partners maintain a commitment with professional ethics and social responsibility by participating in the board of directors of groups such as the Panama Bar Association, the German Chamber of Commerce, the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) of Panama and the Association of Chinese-Panamanian Professionals.
The firm centers its law practice in private client services and asset protection (Private Interest Foundations, Trusts), business structures (Offshore Corporations), tax planning, real estate and e-commerce. It also advices in areas of Law such as Corporate, Commercial, Intellectual Property, Maritime, Tax, and Immigration Law as well as related litigation.

For more information, contact +507 340-6444, e-mail aaguilar (at), or visit: Lombardi Aguilar & Garcia

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Panama Immigration director faces the music

The new director of Immigration Clovis Sinisterra held a September 19 meeting with attorneys and frequent users of visa services. The official version of the meeting in says that about 100 people attended.

Among the many revealing situations disclosed by those attending:

- Visas applied for from Bocas are procesed with delay,
- People attending the Panama office must get a ticket at 6AM, which means applicants flying in from out of town after 10AM may have to come another day,
- Investor Visas are denied because companies have non-par value shares, even if a CPA affidavit and a tax return confirms that the company has a paid-in capital above US$40K,
- Requirements in are always outdated, which puts attorneys on the spot regularly because clients rely on advice which will be outdated by the time foreign documents are authenticated,
- A lack of staff is evident, with photographs stopping when the single official taking pctures is out for lunch,
- Multiple complaints about the lack of transparency in the Authorized Visas for Far East and Indian applicants. There is no clear requirement to prove the solvency of Authorized Visas, so applications by billionaires from those regions may be rejected,
- Legal Counsel at Immigration is never in to attend queries of attorneys,
- Philipinos applying for Investor Visa have their application copy stamped but never get a 3-month card, being subject to arrest and deportation,
- Documents filed from the David office are lost,
- Applicants from the David office are stuck with blue cardboard cards for months, without receiving their final visa,
- Naturalization applications were paralized because they were addressed to "Señor Ministro" (male) when a woman was appointed as Minister,
- Attorneys complained that Authorized Visas which were stuck for months became "unstuck" after the applicant spoke to "a friend of the President".
- A definitive residence visa holder was arrested for 3 months because his visa approval was not sent on time to the Electoral Tribunal for the "E-" cedula to be issued,
- During a change of residence status, it can take 5 months to take the original wedding and birth certificates from one application to another,

The Director himself confessed that he has been watching the situation of the numbered tickets at 6AM and considered this brings the urgency of a new building which has been promised by the Administration from last year. He pointed out the Authorized Visas are rejected by the National Security Council at the Presidency, not by Immigration. He also confirmed that because of several Visa Suppression Agreements signed by Panama, tourists from Japan and some European Union countries can stay with a tourist visa for 90 days, despite the 30 day reduction made by the Legislature.

Kudos to the director for holding the meeting. Now let's hope that work gets done at the Cabinet level for the actual changes required.

Thursday, September 06, 2007 Panama among top six hottest markets for 2007

Hottest foreign second home markets for 2007

Here's where Americans will be turning to this year for second homes abroad.

By Les Christie, staff writer

NEW YORK ( -- Americans have never taken much to living abroad, at least not to the same degree the British have. Some 5.5 million Brits, about 10 percent of that nation's total population, now live as expatriates, with 200,000 more every year.
For Americans, though, most other countries were too far away to tempt us. Some Yanks did buy second homes in Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, but the majority were content to shop within the nation's borders.
That's changing.
Today foreign lands are drawing more Americans than ever. According to State Deparment estimates, some 6.6 million Americans live abroad, a larger number than the Brits claim, but, at 2.2 percent, still a smaller percentage of the U.S.'s total 300 million population.
There are many reasons for the big build up. More Americans work for multi-national companies, which often take them for long stints overseas. And foreign vacation travel is booming as well. This means a lot more exposure to other countries and cultures.

Top international markets for second-home buyers from Tom Kelly, author of "Cashing in on a Second Home in Mexico."
According to second home buying expert and writer, Tom Kelly, Panama has retained some of it formerly large American presence after the handing over of the Canal more than seven years ago.

Kelly says that, unlike the other hot spots for ex-pats, Panama's second home market is dominated by investors rather than people buying for retirement or vacation homes. That's despite it being named by International Living magazine as the best place for Americans to retire or live abroad.

Panama City is economically dynamic, a banking and shipping center with a diverse population where English is commonly spoken. But the place of choice for many Americans is Boquete, high up in the volcanic mountains. The climate there is ideal with warm days and gentle nights. There are masses of flowers everywhere, one reason it's known as the land of eternal spring.

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Authentication of Canada documents for use in Panama

Canada has not signed the 1961 treaty on Apostille, which means that documents issued by Canada authorities (such as birth certificates and police records required for residence visa applications) and contracts signed in front of and notarized by Canada notary, must be authenticated by a Panama consul in Canada. The procedure involves to:

a) have the document notarized in Canada by a Notary Public;

b) have the Notary's signature authenticated by the Lieutenant-Governor of the province in which the Notary is commissioned. Requests for authentication are usually chanelled through the Deputy Provincial Secretary of the province (other province auhtorities are listed here). In Quebec, the Secretary of the Board of Notaries / Chambre de Notaires authenticates these documents. In Ontario, the Official Documents Services (ODS) of the Ministry of Government Services Federal documents must be submitted to the Authentication and Service of Documents Section (JLAC), Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada in Ottawa /;

c) have this signature authenticated by the Panama consular services in Canada (call first to determine the fees and if it is possible to mail them the document with prepaid return postage);

d) arrange for your Panama attorney to have the Panama consul's signature authenticated in Panama by the Panama Ministry of External Affairs.

Please note that only original documents (or certified copies of these), bearing the signature of the competent signing authority may be authenticated.

These are the addresses of Panama Consuls (always subject to changes) listed in the e-government site Panamatramita are:
Embajadora y Enc. Asuntos c.
Nombre: Romy Vásquez
Teléfonos: +(1) 613-236-7177
Tels. Fax: 613-236-5775
Dirección: 130 Albert Street, Suite 300, KIP 5G4 Otawa, Ontario, Canadá
e-mail: pancanem[at]

Vice Cónsul Honoraria
Nombre: Melva Méndez Aizpurua
Teléfonos: +(1) 514-874-1929
Tels. fax: 541-874-1947
Dirección: 1425 Rene Levesque O, Bureau 504, H 3GIT 7 Montreal, (Que) Quebec, Canadá
e-mail: cgpm[at]

Cónsul General
Nombre: Gilberto Boyd
Teléfonos: +(1) 416-651-2350
Tels. fax: 416-651-3141
Dirección: 881 St. Clair Ave. West 2 Floor Ontario, M6C-IC4 Toronto, Canadá
e-mail: conpantor[at]

Cónsul General
Nombre: Eduardo Arango
Teléfonos: +(1) 604-682-6128; 604-682-7128
Tels. fax: 604-682-0528
Dirección: 1112 West Pender St. Suite 407, V6E 2S1 Vancouver, B.C. Canadá
e-mail: invo[at]

IPAT reply on residential tourism

We thank IPAT for their reply to our July 29, 2007 post on residential tourism. Unlike newspapers in Panama, we encourage free discussion of ideas which is why has Comment icons for direct posting by IPAT and anybody else. We have eliminated the email addresses to avoid spambots:

------ Forwarded Message
From: Ruben Blades
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2007 16:05:08 -0500
To: Carl-Fredrik Nordstrom
Subject: Residential tourism

Send this to the person responsible for the

a) From what I read you do not dispute there is a
difference between tourist and resident; no part of
your blog argues against my basic assertion
b) your defense of the term seems to be based on the
fact that ,
"since other countries use it it must be right".
c) I suggest you read the "Louvre Museum-turned into
condos" example I placed on our Internet. It
graphically explains the differences, both economical
and existencial, between residence and tourism;
d) As a lawyer you obviously make money representing
clients interested in residential purchases and an
intermediary for all the legal consequences of
residential requests involving navegating the
burocratic oceans in any country of the world. You are
not a hotel owner, nor do you represent cab drivers,
restaurants, hotel personnel, guides,etc. My feeling
is you'd rather have residents than tourists since the
former represent your "bread and butter". That is not
my position.
I have no problem with people coming to live in
Panama. I welcome the possibility. What I do not
welcome is the notion that tourism and residence are
the same thing, nor that they should be considered as
a whole. They are different activities and should be
regulated differently. IPAT does not regulate
immigration, nor does it regulate taxes for instance.
You should know that and probably do. But your
arguments seems to be directed toward justifying the
notion of "residential tourism". It is absurd to mix
the two. I guess that's the lawyer in me.

Ruben Blades

Carl-Fredrik Nordström
Sub-Gerente General / Deputy General Manager
Instituto Panameño de Turismo -IPAT
Avenida Samuel Lewis y Calle Gerardo Ortega
Edificio Central, Nivel 100
( Teléfono: (507) 526-7110, (507) 526-7000
) Fax: (507) 526-7121

------ End of Forwarded Message