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Feb 27, 2007

Prosecution of former diplomat appears doubtful

Story PictureAlmost two weeks after former Ambassador Moises Cal was stopped by Panamanian customs officials for trying to enter that country with unusually large amounts of cash it appears that he will escape criminal prosecution in both Panama and Belize. As previously reported, the two countries do not have an extradition treaty and there has been no official request from Panamanian law enforcement authorities to have Cal appear before them. As far as local laws go, there is obviously little enthusiasm for prosecution, particularly when there is no hard evidence that a crime has been committed in Belize. Cal has reportedly told friends that the amount of cash he was carrying was two hundred and fifty thousand U.S. dollars–not the million mentioned in press accounts–and that the money was the legitimate proceeds of various business dealings. Of course, if this is true then he would have no problem explaining this to the local media, which would like to find out the nature of those business dealings, why he travelled to Panama so frequently over the last few months and why he continued to use a diplomatic passport that, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he should have turned in when he left the government service back in early December. Press reports from Panama indicate that a number of airport customs officials were caught with large amounts of cash and when interrogated, told authorities that the money was given to them as a bribe by Cal.

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