Letter to Panama's president from Trump Organization lawyers

This photo shows a scanned copy of page one of a three-page letter dated March 22, 2018, and addressed to Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela from lawyers representing U.S. President Donald Trump's family hotel business. The letter asks Varela to intervene with the court on behalf of the Trump Organization in its fight to continue running a luxury waterfront hotel, complaining that Panama’s courts denied the organization due process in violation of a bilateral treaty and warning there could be consequences for the country. The letter from the Trump Organization to the Panamanian President "URGENTLY request(s) your influence in relation to a commercial dispute involving Trump Hotel aired before Panama's judiciary." (AP Photo)

PANAMA CITY — The text of the letter from the Britton & Iglesias law firm to Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, as translated by The Associated Press.

Your Excellency Mr. President:

We are the law office Britton & Iglesias and we write to you in the name and representation of our Client "Trump Panama Hotel Management, LLC" , a company in the United States of America with 100 percent American capital, belonging to the well-known Trump Organization, to URGENTLY request your influence in relation to a commercial dispute involving Trump Hotel aired before Panama's judiciary.

Aware of the separation of powers of the State, we would like to raise a situation that even though is currently being addressed by Panama's judiciary, has repercussions in the Panamanian State, which You preside over.

We are referring to Law 12 of October 27, 1983, by way of which "the Agreement between the Republic of Panama and the United States of America about the Bilateral Investment Treaty is adopted", in particular its Article II, number 2, which states:

"Article II

1...

2. National investments by companies of either of the Parties will be granted fair and equitable treatment and they will be conceded protection and total security in the territory of the other Party. The treatment, protection and security of the investments will be granted in conformity with the applicable national laws and International Law.

Neither of the Parties in any form can hinder, by arbitrary and discriminatory means, the administration, operation, maintenance, use, usufruct, acquisition, expansion or divestiture of investments made by nationals or companies of the other Party. Each Party will comply with the obligations that were incurred with respect to the investments by nationals or companies of the other Party."

As has been enshrined by Jurisprudence most recently by the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes of the World Bank (CIADI), this clause offers North American investors in Panama protection from being victims of a Denial of Justice. And that is done in two distinct ways. First, the denial of justice would be in incompliance with the standard of "Fair and Equitable Treatment." Second, all denials of justice are prohibited by Customary International law, which is understood by the requirement that "the treatment, protection and security of the investments will be granted in conformity with... International Law.

In the case at hand Mr. President, there have been numerous violations to Due Process that despite being presented before the Second Judge of the Civil Circuit of Panama, Miriam Cheng, who is handling the case, have been ignored in a way that can only generate doubts.

Among others, the following irregularities have been exposed:

i.Excessive and unusual speed in relation to receiving, decreeing, and executing the eviction order. (3 days);

ii.With the permission of the Judge, the Judicial Administrator that was designated has violated, in excess, absolutely all his authority, even changing the name of the Hotel and allowing another operator to enter, instead of assuring the continuous and peaceful operation of the business under its judicial administration;

iii.The Judge has allowed a dispute that must be resolved through arbitration, to stay in her office, in violation of the Arbitration Law of Panama (Law 131 from 2013.)

iv.The Judge has permitted that a Lawsuit based on repealed rules be presented in her office.

v.Trump Panama Hotel Management, LLC, has been restricted from exercising its right of defense, blocking it from presenting and receiving documents, which has given way to the presentation of disciplinary complaints before the Court.

Your Excellency Mr. President, the damages that this excessively bad administration of justice is causing, goes against the rights and obligations laid out in the Bilateral Investment Treaty.

We appreciate your influence in order to avoid that these damages are attributed not to the other party, but to the Panamanian government due to a clear violation of the Treaty protections, specifically due to a denial of justice in the form and terms that said protection must be understood in international investment arbitration.

We remain at your disposal in case You wish to know more details about the subject.

Assuredly with the highest respect For You,

BRITTON & IGLESIAS

Eric Britton

cc.:

- Honorary Alvaro Aleman - Ministry of the Presidency

- Honorary Isabel De Saint Malo - Ministry of Foreign Relations

- Honorary Augusto Arosemena - Ministry of Commerce and Industries

- Honorary Hernan de Leon - President of the Supreme Court of Justice

- Honorary Yanibel Abrego - President of the National Assembly of Panama

- Honorary Kenia Porcell - Attorney General of the Nation

- Honorary Rigoberto Gonzalez - Attorney General of Administration

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