Feb 16, 1979 • 2306 • Panama-State • 1224

[Editor’s note: This text was released at https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1979PANAMA01224_e.html.]

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O 162306Z FEB 79
FM AMEMBASSY PANAMA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1128
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PANAMA 01224
PLEASE PASS DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FOR JAMES HERGEN

EO 12065: GDS 2/16/85 (CHESTER, GEORGE)
TAGS: EFIN: PEOPLES TEMPLE, PN
SUBJECT: PEOPLES TEMPLE FUNDS IN PANAMA

1. (C – ENTIRE TEXT).

2. EDUARDO FERRER OF MORGAN Y MORGAN DELIVERED TO US FEBRUARY 16 A COPY OF HIS LETTER TO YOU DATED FEBRUARY 15. THE PORTION OF THE LETTER IN WHICH THEY RECOMMEND POSSIBLE WAYS TO PROCEED IN THIS MATTER IS AS FOLLOWS:

3. QUOTE WE WILL NOW PROCEED TO GIVE YOU OUR PRESENT ASSESSMENT OF THE CASE AS TO THE MANNER BY WHICH WE COULD TRY TO RECOVER THE FUNDS.

(PARA) AS YOU ARE AWARE, ACCORDING TO THE STIPULATION OF ARTICLE 14 OF THE CHARTER OF INCORPORATION OF ASOCIACION RELIGIOSA PRO-SAN PEDRO, S.A. NO NATURAL PERSON OR “PARTICULAR” PERSON WAS ENTITLED TO BENEFIT OR CLAIM THE ASSETS OR FUNDS OF SUCH CORPORATION.

(PARA) ACCORDING TO ALL THE DATA AVAILABLE TO US AT THE PRESENT TIME, MOST IF NOT ALL OF THE FUNDS THAT BELONGED TO THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE AND THAT WERE DEPOSITED IN THE UNION BANK OF SWITZERLAND WERE IN ACCOUNT NO. 222-00-042 IN THE NAME OF SAN PEDRO, S.A.

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(PARA)ACCORDING TO ALFARO, SOME MONTHS AGO MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE CAME TO PANAMA (WITH THE SHARES OF THE CORPORATION) AND REQUESTED A CHANGE FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE PERSONS AUTHORIZED TO SIGN ON BEHALF OF THE CORPORATION AT THE BANK ACCOUNTS.

(PARA) ALFARO, AS DID MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE, AS DID THE BANK, FORGOT COMPLETELY ABOUT THE LIMITATIONS ESTABLISHED IN THE CHARTER OF INCORPORATION AND WENT AHEAD AND AUTHORIZED BY A RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS, NEW PERSONS TO SIGN IN THE NAME OF THE CORPORATION AND TRANSFER THE FUNDS TO OTHER ACCOUNTS.

(PARA) IF ALFARO OR THE PERSONS FROM THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE (IF THEY ACTUALLY HAD THE SHARES) WOULD HAVE REMEMBERED THE LIMITATIONS MENTIONED ABOVE THEY WOULD HAVE SIMPLY MODIFIED THE CHARTER OF INCORPORATION AND PROCEEDED LEGALLY TO TRANSFER THE FUNDS. THE MISTAKE IN SUCH LEGAL TECHNICALITY, HOWEVER, MADE THE TRANSFERS ILLEGAL AND THERE IS EVEN A PRESUMPTION OF A CRIME SINCE FUNDS THAT WERE CLEARLY FROM THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE PASSED INTO THE NAMES OF PARTICULAR PERSONS WHO COULD NOW DISPOSE OF THEM FREELY DISREGARDING THE WISHES AND DESIRES OF THE REAL OWNERS, WHO WERE ALL OF THE MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE.

(PARA) DUE TO THE SET OF FACTS PRESENTED ABOVE, WE COULD CRIMINALLY DENOUNCE ALL THE PERSONS INVOLVED IN DIRECTING INTO PRIVATE HANDS THE FUNDS OF THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE WHO WERE BEING HELD IN PANAMA BY SAN PEDRO, S.A. THROUGH THE CRIMINAL ACTION WE COULD GAIN ACCESS TO THE INFORMATION AS TO THE ORIGIN OF THE FUNDS IN ACCOUNT NO. 121-00-191-A (BECAUSE AS YOU ARE ALSO AWARE, THE BANKS ACCORDING TO THE SECRECY LAW OF THE NUMBER ACCOUNTS WILL ONLY FURNISH INFORMATION TO OFFICIALS IN CHARGE OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS). ONCE WE OBTAIN THE INFORMATION ABOUT THE TRANSFERS (AND

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IF THEY COME OUT AS WE EXPECT) THEN THE RESULT OF SUCH INVESTIGATION WILL BECOME AN OFFICIAL DOCUMENT AS TO THE RIGHTFUL OWNERSHIP OF THE FUNDS DEPOSITED IN THE U.B.S. TO CONCLUDE THE MATTER, ONCE WE HAVE ESTABLISHED THAT THE FUNDS BELONGED TO SAN PEDRO, S.A., THEN SAN PEDRO S.A. BRINGS A CIVIL SUIT TO RECOVER THE FUNDS FROM THE OTHER NUMBER ACCOUNTS WHOSE DEPOSITS CAME FROM TRANSFERS ORIGINALLY IN THE NAME OF SUCH CORPORATION.

(PARA) AS FAR AS THE PANAMANIAN LAW IS CONCERNED, THE PERSON THAT HAS IN HIS POSSESSION ALL OF THE SHARES OF A CORPORATION ISSUED TO BEARER, OWNS THE CORPORATION UNLESS PROVEN OTHERWISE, SUCH PERSON CAN CHANGE THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS, CHANGE THE ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION, SUE IN THE NAME OF THE CORPORATION, ETC.

(PARA) IF YOU INSTRUCT US IN WRITING TO PROCEED AS STATED ABOVE, WE WILL DO SO. HOWEVER, IF YOU SEE ANY POSSIBILITY OF US BEING CHALLENGED BY ANOTHER INTERESTED PARTY WE SUGGEST HEREBY THE FOLLOWING OPTION, SINCE A CHALLENGE COULD TAKE MANY YEARS TO BE DECIDED, MAINLY IF WE BOTH GO ALL THE WAY TO THE SUPREME COURT:

(PARA) REQUEST AS SOON AS YOU DEEM CONVENIENT THE FEDERAL COURT IN WASHINGTON TO ATTACH OR SEIZE THE SHARES OF THE CORPORATION SAN PEDRO, S.A. WHICH IS A DEFENDANT IN YOUR SUIT AS AN ALTER-EGO OF THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE, AND HAVE THE COURT APPOINT A DEPOSITARY OR RECEIVER. THE DEPOSITARY CAN THEN INSTRUCT US OR GIVE US A POWER OF ATTORNEY TO ACT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CORPORATION AND TO TRY TO RECOVER ALL THE FUNDS THAT BELONG TO THE CORPORATION.

(PARA) IF YOU FOLLOW THE SECOND ALTERNATIVE, IT WILL FACILITATE OUR WORK HERE IN PANAMA AND WILL GIVE US THE APPROPRIATE LEGAL BASES TO DEFEAT A POSSIBLE CHALLENGE WHICH ACTUALLY, DUE TO THE TIME FACTOR INVOLVED HERE AND IN THE

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O 162306Z FEB 79
FM AMEMBASSY PANAMA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1129
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 PANAMA 01224
PLEASE PASS DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FOR JAMES HERGEN

UNITED STATES, SHOULD BE AVOIDED BY ALL THE INTERESTED PARTIES. UNQUOTE.

4. FERRER REPORTED THAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL RECEIVED A LETTER FEBRUARY 15 FROM THE SWISS BANK CORPORATION INDICATING THAT THEY COULD NOT ANSWER THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S REQUEST FOR INFORMATION UNTIL THEY HAVE CHECKED WITH COUNSEL IN SWITZERLAND. JUAN DAVID MORGAN HAS SUBSEQUENTLY TALKED WITH SBC’S COUNSEL IN PANAMA AND WAS TOLD SBC WOULD GO AHEAD AND ANSWER THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S REQUEST NEXT WEEK.

MOSS

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Originally posted on October 22nd, 2020.

Last modified on November 15th, 2020.
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