Panamanian authorities arrested DMG director David Murcia Guzmán
Wednesday evening, after Colombia had asked for his extradition because
his company is a suspected pyramid scheme and would be laundering money
for illegal armed groups and the mafia.
Murcia initially had promised to turn himself in voluntarily if the Colombian government gave him guarantees about his safety, but was captured in a car driving towards the Costa Rica border.
The DMG director was flown early Thursday morning to the Colombian coastal city Cartagena.
Murcia will be taken to an undisclosed location where he’ll be held in seclusion until he will have to appear before court for money laundering and related crimes.
The arrest of Murcia follows the forced closing of all DMG offices in Colombia. The Colombian government has promised to give all people who invested in the company will have the chance to claim their money.
DMG raked in tens of millions of dollars annually by offering some
200,000 investors extraordinary interest rates, as high as a 300
percent returns over six months. Colombian officials have charged
Murcia and six other top DMG officials with laundering drug money and
President Alvaro Uribe has declared a state of emergency
to crack down on illegal investment schemes that have drawn in millions
of Colombians in recent years. The pyramid schemes offer spectacular
returns, paying off early investors with the cash of people who invest
later. The schemes collapse when the flow of incoming money fails to
keep up with the promised returns.
Another company, Proyecciones
DRFE — whose intitials stood for “Fast Money, East Cash” — collapsed
last week amid news that its owner had left the country — leaving about
600 billion pesos ($270 million) of investments in limbo.
clients stormed and looted local branches in rioting that left 13 towns
under police curfew and two men dead last week. Officials seized 92.4
billion pesos ($42 million) from 68 of the company’s offices and
arrested 52 employees, police said.
DMG is by far Colombia’s
largest suspected pyramid scheme, and its largely working-class investors —
frustrated by the difficulties in obtaining loans from legal Colombian
banks — have protested against Uribe’s decision to shut the company