Pandora Papers reveal how mysterious businessman ended up owning Trump's bankrupt hotel in Panama
The massive leak of the Pandora Papers, which exposed millions of confidential documents from offshore companies and the law firms that helped set them up, revealed new details about a Panamanian businessman who snatched a hotel away from Donald Trump.
The documents show Orestes Fintiklis, now 42, acquired the Trump International Hotel and Tower here in Panama City away from the then-president's family in 2018 through his private equity company Ithaca Capital Partners, which used a mostly anonymous network of companies to set up a complex business structure, reported the Miami Herald.
"Private equity funds are a blind spot if they are operating in these locations, and even in the U.S. as well," said Dev Odedra, a British banking consultant who works to stop money laundering. "People have this false notion that nothing suspicious happens here."
Fintiklis used this complex network based in British Virgin Islands, Delaware and Panama, and his political connections back home, to buy out most of the assets of the Trump hotel's bankrupt developer, Newland International Properties Corp., which needed to unload 202 of the 369 condominium units it controlled.
Ithaca Capital Partners bought out Newland for $20 million in August 2017, with financing from a small but well-connected lender in Panama, and workers used a crowbar to peel off Trump's name from the hotel less than six months later.
At the time, Fintiklis was someone "nobody ever heard of, even in Panama," said one former government official, but his high-profile acquisition of the American president's property helped him pick up other prized properties in Latin America, such as the W Hotel in Bogota.