CP/doc. 3687/03

29 January 2003

Original:  Spanish


















January 6, 2003





















This document is being distributed to the permanent missions and
will be presented to the Permanent Council of the Organization.






This edition of the General Secretariat's Report on the Diversion of Nicaraguan Arms to the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia does not contain Annexes III through VII.   In all other respects this edition is identical to the complete report.








Report of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States on the Diversion of Nicaraguan Arms to the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia



January 6, 2003



1.      Executive Summary


1.   Summary

2.   Recommendations


2.      Report


I.                    Background

II.                 Principal Actors in the Arms Diversion

III.               The Chain of Events

IV.              Analysis

V.                 Legal Commentary

VI.              Application of the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials, (CIFTA)

VII.            Issues Requiring Further Investigation

VIII.         Conclusions


3.      Annexes


I.                    Documented Chronology of the Chain of Events

II.                 List of all Actors

III.               Sworn Statements

IV.              Documents Related to the Supposed Purchase Order

V.                 Supporting Documents

VI.              Application of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission's (CICAD) Model Regulations

VII.            CICAD Model Regulations

1.      Executive Summary:


I.  Summary


In October 1999, a series of events began which resulted in the illegal diversion of 3000 AK47s and 2.5 million rounds of ammunition from Nicaraguan government stocks to the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC), a terrorist organization in Colombia.  The diversion was made possible by negligent actions on the part of various government officials and private companies, and the willful and criminal actions of several private arms merchants.


The original, legitimate, transaction was to be a trade between the Nicaraguan National Police and a private Guatemalan arms dealership, Grupo de Representaciones Internationales (GIR S.A.).  The Nicaraguan Army introduced GIR S.A. to the police.  GIR S.A. offered the police a quantity of new Israeli manufactured pistols and mini-uzis in return for five thousand surplus AK47s and 2.5 million rounds of ammunition.  This was an attractive arrangement for the police since it was a cashless transaction and would provide the police with arms more suitable for police work.


GIR S.A.  shopped for a buyer for the police arms and settled on Shimon Yelinek, an Israeli arms merchant based in Panama.  Yelinek claimed to be representing the Panamanian National Police, and during the negotiations presented GIR S.A. and Nicaraguan officials with a Panamanian Police purchase order, which has been proven to be a forgery.  Neither GIR S.A. nor any Nicaraguan official ever questioned the purchase order or attempted to verify that Panama had in fact offered to buy the weapons.


Yelinek inspected the police weapons some months after the deal was made, and after Nicaraguan authorities had given permission for the transaction.  He declared them to be unserviceable and unsatisfactory.  This threatened the transaction.  GIR S.A. and the Nicaraguan Army solved the problem by arranging a swap of 5000 surplus police AK47s for 3117 serviceable weapons in the Nicaraguan Army inventory.  GIR S.A. delivered the Israeli arms to the police and the Nicaraguan Army took over responsibility for delivering the AK47s.  Although the parameters of the transaction changed, no new authority was requested from responsible Nicaraguan agencies.


Yelinek identified a Panamanian maritime company, Trafalgar Maritime Inc., to pick up the arms in Nicaragua and take them to Panama.  The arms were transported by the army to the port of El Rama, Nicaragua, and were loaded aboard the company’s only ship, the Otterloo, which declared for Panama.  Instead, the Otterloo sailed directly to Turbo, Colombia where the arms were delivered to the AUC.  The Captain of the ship disappeared shortly thereafter, and the maritime company was dissolved several months later.  The Otterloo was sold to a Colombian citizen.


Immediately after the shipment left Nicaragua, GIR S.A. began to organize another sale to Yelinek from the Nicaraguan Army, using the same purchase order, this time for an additional five thousand AK47s and 17 million rounds of ammunition.  Prices were exchanged between the three, Yelinek made a down payment, and the deal was under way.


When the diversion of the initial shipment became known, the intelligence services of Colombia, Nicaragua and Panama agreed to organize a “sting” operation, ostensibly to track this second shipment and identify those responsible for the first diversion.  This plan fell apart fairly quickly when GIR S.A. found out that it was in play and canceled the shipment.


The OAS investigative team believes that:


1.       Shimon Yelinek is likely guilty of fraud and of violating Colombian anti-terrorism laws, and possibly Panamanian anti-terrorism laws, among others.  An associate  Marco Shrem, appears complicit in these activities, but to an unknown degree.


2.        The owner of the Otterloo, the ship which transported the arms to Colombia, is apparently guilty of conspiring with Yelinek to provide the AUC with arms and of violating Colombian, and possibly Panamanian, anti-terrorism and other laws.


3.       The captain of the ship which transported the arms to Colombia, along with his first mate, may have been cognizant of, and a participant in, the arms diversion organized by Yelinek. 


4.       Although the Investigative Team found no evidence that Ori Zoller and Uzi Kissilevich, the owner and general manager of of GIR S.A., respectively, were co-conspirators in the arms diversion, their failure to make any attempt to verify the actual destination for the arms contributed to the diversion.


5.       The Government of Nicaragua failed to comply with a number of provisions of the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacture and Trafficking in Weapons, Munitions, Explosives and Related Materials (CIFTA), to which it is a party.  Nicaraguan authorities are guilty of professional negligence with their failure to verify whether the Panamanian National Police was indeed the true end-user in the arms exchange.


6.       There appears to be no involvement of Panamanian authorities in the exchange of arms, or their diversion. 


7.       Colombia is the victim of the arms diversion.  However several Colombian customs agents were likely accomplices of, or were bribed by, the AUC in order to allow the Otterloo to land its cargo of arms and ammunition in the port of Turbo.



II.  Recommendations:


The OAS Investigative Team presents below a number of recommendations to strengthen the existing Inter-American arms control regime and prevent diversions of this type from occurring in the future.


Recommendation 1:  The governments of Colombia, Nicaragua, and Panama should vigorously pursue investigations into possible criminal conduct on the part of any and all persons involved in this case, and should seek the collaboration of other governments  including Canada, Guatemala, Israel, Mexico, and the United States of America in the investigation and prosecution of these possible crimes.  These efforts should include attempts to resolve the unanswered questions presented in section VII of this report.


Recommendation 2:  The Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and other Related Materials, (CIFTA), is, and should remain, the primary multilateral hemispheric tool to prevent the illicit manufacturing and trafficking in arms and ammunition.  All member states of the Organization who have not done so should sign and ratify the Convention.  The Consultative Committee of CIFTA should spearhead an effort to ensure full implementation of the Convention and to promote its full adoption.


Recommendation 3:  With regard to full implementation of the Convention, particular emphasis should be placed on the provisions of paragraph 3 of Article IX of the Convention, requiring evidence of the pre-issuance of the necessary import licenses or authorizations before any shipments of firearms are released for export.  Articles VIII, and X, should also be paid particular attention.  Member states should consider applying the CICAD Model Regulations to facilitate implementation of the CIFTA Convention.


Recommendation 4:   OAS member states should consider establishing surplus arms destruction programs.  OAS member and observer states should provide financial and technical assistance for such surplus arms destruction.


Recommendation 5:  Persons engaged in the import, export and in-transit movement of firearms, or as dealers, or carriers and/or shippers of firearms, should be registered by national governments in order to do business in each country in which they have an  office, and in each country in which a transaction takes place.  Member states should not engage in business activities with any non-registered broker.


Recommendation 6:   All member states should review their national legislation and administrative practices for the exportation of firearms and establish a legal regime sufficient to exert meaningful control over the inventory and export of firearms.


Recommendation 7:  Harmonized import certificates should be used by all member countries. Electronic formats of the certificates should be developed so that the information can be readily shared with other countries involved in a transaction.[1]   Additionally, harmonized export and in-transit documents should be developed and used by all member states to regulate the importation, export and transit of arms and ammunition and related materials.


The OAS Investigative Team limited its work to the specific mandate it was given.  However the investigation revealed serious issues which the Team strongly recommends be investigated by governments (see page 34).


2.      Report of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States on the Diversion of Nicaraguan Arms to the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia


I.                    Background:


A.  Request for an Investigation:


On May 8, 2002, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Nicaragua and Panama, Guillermo Fernandez de Soto, Norman Caldera C. and José Miguel Alemán, respectively, wrote to OAS Secretary General César Gaviria.  The Ministers requested that the General Secretariat of the Organization conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the export of an official shipment of arms and ammunition which originated in Nicaragua in November 2001, and was subsequently diverted to the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, AUC).  The letter is contained in Annex V of this report, as document No. 17, for reference.


The Ministers requested that the Secretary General investigate the events and report to their respective governments setting out the facts drawn from the investigation, together with conclusions and recommendations for suggested mechanisms and procedures designed to prevent the recurrence of similar situations in the future.


Given the importance of this joint request in the post-September 11, 2001 environment, the Secretary General responded by appointing Ambassador Morris D. Busby as his Special Representative to lead the investigation[2].



B.  Investigative Task:


The general task of the investigation was to determine how an official arms transfer between the Nicaraguan National Police (NNP) and a firearms brokerage company located in Guatemala, Grupo de Representaciones Internacionales, (GIR S.A.), led to the diversion of the Nicaraguan arms to the port of Turbo, Colombia, where the arms subsequently came into the hands of the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, AUC), a paramilitary group considered a terrorist organization.  It had been represented to the responsible Nicaraguan authorities that the arms were being sold and shipped to the Panamanian National Police.


The Investigative Team undertook the following specific tasks:


1.       To determine the actual facts of the case and prepare a complete chronology of all events pertinent to the diversion;


2.       To develop information on possible violations of national law and make appropriate recommendations to the governments for follow-on investigation and/or action;


3.       To ascertain whether any of the governments involved failed to adhere to their relevant international obligations, and;


4.       To make appropriate recommendations to avoid a recurrence of similar situations in the future.



C.  Methodology:


On May 28 and 29, 2002, the three governments requesting the investigation each submitted to the General Secretariat a report on their findings related to the arms diversion.  These reports contained facts of the case developed during their internal investigations, and also copies of original documentation.  Based on an extensive review of this documentation, the investigating team requested additional information from the three governments on July 15, 2002, which the governments provided in late July.  


Members of the Investigative Team traveled to Nicaragua, Guatemala and Panama, to  obtain additional information and documentation, and to interview government officials and private individuals with direct knowledge of the case.


In Guatemala, the team met with the owner and the general manager of the firm Grupo de Representaciones Internacionales, (GIR S.A.), Messrs. Ori Zoller and Uzi Kissilevich.  GIR S.A. was the broker that put together the deal.


In Nicaragua, the team met with the Foreign Minister, the Minister of Defense, the  current and former Ministers of Government (Ministro de Gobernación), the current and former Chiefs of Police, the Contralor General de la República, the Chief of the Nicaraguan Army, the Inspector General of the army, several other civilian, police and military officials, and with representatives of the Nicaraguan shipping company, Agencia Vassali which handled the loading of the arms onto the Otterloo for ultimate transport to Colombia.


In Panama, the team met with the Foreign Minister; the Minister of Government and Justice (Ministro de Gobierno y Justicia); the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs; the  Executive Secretary of the Security Council (Secretario Ejecutivo del Consejo de Seguridad); the Chief of the Panamanian National Police; the prosecutor (Fiscal) responsible for the case in Panama; Marco Shrem, one of two private individuals located in Panama who were involved in the transaction; Gustavo Padilla, a Panamanian lawyer who incorporated Trafalgar Maritime Inc.; Yariela Brown, the Secretary of Trafalgar Maritime Inc.; Carlos Aguilar, the first mate of the ship Otterloo, whose registered owner is Trafalgar Inc., and other people with knowledge of the case.  The Investigative Team made several unsuccessful attempts to interview the other private individual located in Panama who was involved in the arms diversion, Shimon Yelinek.  These attempts were made through Yelinek's lawyers following his arrest by Panamanian authorities in November, 2002.   Table 1 (below) contains a complete list of individuals interviewed or contacted by the Investigative Team.


The Investigative Team did not travel to Colombia, rather, requests for information from the Government of Colombia were made through that country’s Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the OAS, Humberto de la Calle Lombana, and through contacts with knowledgeable individuals.


The Investigative Team was able to reconstruct the facts surrounding the transfer of arms from Nicaragua to Colombia based on information provided by the countries, and other information collected during meetings with government officials and others.  The investigation also sought, and received, information from the governments of Belize, Guatemala, Israel, Mexico, and the United States of America.



Table1:  Persons Contacted or Interviewed by the Investigative Team






  • Lisa Shoman, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Belize to the Organization of American States.




  • Humberto de la Calle, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the Organization of American States.
  • Brigadier General Jose Leonardo Gallego-Castrillon, Commander, Colombian National Police, Valle de Aburra.



United States of America:


  • Oliver P. Garza, Ambassador of the United States of America in Nicaragua.
  • Roger Noriega, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the Organization of American States.
  • Christopher McMullen, Chargé, Embassy of the United States of America in Panama.




  • Ori Zoller, Owner of Grupo de Representaciones Internacionales, GIR S.A.
  • Uzi Kissilevich, Director General of Grupo de Representaciones Internacionales, GIR S.A.
  • Arturo Duarte, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Guatemala to the Organization of American States.




  • Rafael Barak, Chargé, Embassy of Israel in the United States of America.
  • Jacob Dayan, Alternate Permanent Observer of Israel to the Organization of American States.





  • Miguel Ruiz Cabañas, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the Organization of American States.




  • H.E., Enrique Bolaños Geyer, President of the Republic.
  • Norman Caldera, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
  • Arturo Harding, Minister of Gobernación.
  • René Herrera, former Minister of Gobernación.
  • José Adan Guerra, Minister of Defense.
  • Carlos Ulvert, Ambassador of Nicaragua to the United States of America.
  • Leandro Marín Abaunza, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Nicaragua  to the Organization of American States.
  • General Javier Alonso Carrión McDonough, Commander in Chief of the  Nicaraguan Army.
  • General Roberto Calderón, Inspector General of the Nicaraguan Army.
  • Edwin Cordero, First Commissioner, NNP.
  • Francisco Bautista Lara, Commissioner of Police, NNP.
  • Melby Gonzalez, Commissioner of Police, NNP.
  • Francisco Montealegre, former First Commissioner of Police, NNP
  • Julio César Solis, General Manager, Naval Operations, Agencia Vassali.
  • Augusto Canales Aguilar, Owner, Agencia Canales Aguilar.
  • Members of the Superior Council of the Comptroller General of the Republic of Nicaragua (Consejo Superior de la Contraloría General de la Republica de Nicaragua), including the Council's former President, Guillermo Arguello Poessy, and its current President, Francisco Ramírez Torres.




  • José Miguel Aleman, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
  • Anibal Salas, Minister of Government and Justice (Ministro de Gobierno y Justicia).
  • Harmodio Arias Cerjack, Deputy Foreign Minister.
  • Ramiro Jarvice, Executive Secretary of the Security Council.
  • Carlos Barés, Chief of the PNP.
  • Juan Manuel Castulovich, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Panama  to the Organization of American States..
  • José Isaza, Chief of the Maritime Service (Jefe del Servicio Marítimo).
  • Gustavo Leonardo Padilla Martinez, Trafalgar Maritime Inc.'s lawyer.
  • Yariela Brown, Trafalgar Maritime Inc.'s secretary.
  • Fredison Carvajal, PNP
  • Alexis Vergara, PNP
  • Patricio Candanedo, Second Prosecutor Specializing in Crimes Related to Drugs, Public Ministry (Fiscal Segundo Especializado en Delitos Relacionados con Drogas, Ministerio Publico).
  • Marco Shrem, owner/partner, Marksman Latin America S.A, y Marksman Panamá, commercial enterprises located in Panama.
  • Carlos Aguilar, merchant marine captain, first mate aboard the Otterloo.



II.  Principal Actors in the Arms Diversion:


The following persons had substantive roles in the arms transaction:


In Guatemala:


§         Ori Zoller: An Israeli citizen and owner of GIR S.A., a firearms dealership and

brokerage agency established in Guatemala in 1996, and a representative of Israeli Military  Industries (IMI).  Zoller was formerly a member of the Israeli Army’s special forces, and an intelligence officer.   He was the broker who organized and managed the transfer of the NNP firearms.


§         Uzi Kissilevich:  An Israeli citizen and partner of Zoller’s in GIR S.A., also  formerly a member of the Israeli military.   He serves as GIR S.A.’s general manager and was also involved in the NNP firearms transfer.


In  Nicaragua:


§         General Roberto Calderón Meza:  Inspector General of the Nicaraguan Army and formerly its Chief of Logistics. Over the years, General Calderón allegedly had a number of business dealings with Zoller. Calderón became involved in the present case through his relationship with Zoller.  He was instrumental in providing Nicaraguan Army firearms to the NNP when the firearms that the NNP was planning to transfer were found to be unsatisfactory to the ultimate buyer.


§         Major Alvaro Rivas Castillo:  Major of the Nicaraguan Army, and Aide de Camp of General Calderón.  He took responsibility for logistics and the actual export of the firearms that are the subject of the investigation.


§         René Herrera:  Nicaraguan Minister of Government (Gobernación) until September 30, 2000.  Ex-Minister Herrera approved the terms of the transfer of the NNP firearms to GIR S.A.  Herrera also requested Nicaragua’s Comptroller General (Contraloría General) to exempt this firearms transaction from Nicaragua’s Law governing State Contracts (Ley de Contrataciones del Estado).  Herrera personally briefed the then United States Ambassador to Nicaragua on the terms of the original arms deal – describing it as a sale of antiquated arms to a broker for re-sale to collectors in the United States.


§         Commissioner Francisco Montealegre:  Chief of Police from September 1996 to September 6, 2001. Montealegre concluded the initial arms exchange contract with Zoller.


§         Edwin Cordero Ardilla:  Present Chief of the NNP.  He became involved in the firearms transfer following Montealgre’s retirement and saw it through to final completion.


In Panama  :


§         Shimon Yelinek:  Actual purchaser of the Nicaraguan firearms, through GIR S.A., purportedly for the PNP.  He is an Israeli citizen.


§         Marco Shrem:  A business associate of Yelinek.  Shrem put Yelinek in contact with  Zoller, collaborated with Yelinek in the purchase of the Nicaraguan firearms through Zoller, and attempted to buy/sell additional arms though Zoller.  He is a Peruvian citizen.


§         Miguel Onattopp Ferriz: General Manager and owner of Trafalgar Martime Inc., the company identified as the registered owner of the Otterloo.  The Otterloo loaded the arms in El Rama, Nicaragua, and transported them to Colombia.  Miguel Onattopp Ferriz is a Mexican citizen.


§         Jesús Iturrios Maciel:  Captain of the Otterloo at the time of the diversion, employed by Trafalgar Maritime Inc.   He is a Mexican citizen.


Annex II contains a complete listing of all of the natural and legal persons and other entities involved in the case.



III.  The  Chain of Events:


The chain of events of the case can be broken down into the following four phases:


§         The first phase, from October 1999 to June 2000, begins when the Chief of the NNP, Commissioner Francisco Montealegre, aware that his police force has insufficient and inappropriate firearms and a lack of financial resources to acquire new ones, is introduced to Ori Zoller of GIR S.A. by the Inspector General of Nicaragua’s army, General Roberto Calderón.  A proposed arms transfer was conceived whereby the NNP would provide a quantity of AK47 firearms to the broker Zoller, and in exchange, Zoller would provide the NNP with more suitable firearms (pistols and mini-Uzis).  During this stage, the necessary approvals within the Nicaraguan Government were sought and obtained, and a formal contract to effect the exchange was entered into between the  NNP and Zoller’s GIR S.A.


§         The second phase occurred between July 2000 and July 2001, when Zoller identified a buyer for the Nicaraguan arms, Shimon Yelinek and his associates.  A shipping company was established in Panama, Trafalgar Maritime Inc., apparently for the purpose of transporting the arms to the AUC in Colombia.  It was during this stage that the arms diversion appears to have been planned.


§         During the third phase, between July 4, 2001 and November 3, 2001, there was a flurry of activity, beginning when Yelinek inspected the NNP arms being offered for sale by Zoller and determined that their condition was not adequate for the transaction to proceed.  In an attempt to salvage the transaction,  Zoller and General Calderón entered into an agreement whereby the Nicaraguan Army offered to exchange the unacceptable NNP arms for better quality ones in the army’s possession.  This was also the period when the final logistical arrangements and customs and export procedures were executed, and culminated with the arms and ammunition being exported from Nicaragua and diverted to Colombia. 


§         The fourth and final phase took place from late November 2001 to February 2002,  when preparations were made to purchase a second shipment of arms from Nicaragua, again ostensibly for the Panamanian Police.  The intelligence services of Colombia, Panama, and Nicaragua, through a tri-national operation, proposed by the Nicaraguan Armny, attempted to put together a “sting”, supposedly to uncover those responsible for the diversion.


Narrative Summary of the Chain of Events:


The narrative presented below was reconstructed from interviews and documents obtained by the Investigative Team.  A documented chronology of events is presented in Annex I which provides additional details regarding the events surrounding the diversion, and the persons, institutions, and businesses involved.


Phase I:


The Nicaraguan National Police, a force consisting of approximately 7000 police officers, has only about half the number of side-arms necessary to equip every officer.  This has forced the police to issue AK47 assault rifles to many officers, these arms being plentiful as they were left over from Nicaragua’s civil war.  The Police leadership recognizes that AK47s are not appropriate for a police force.


In 1999, General Roberto Calderón, the Inspector General of the Nicaraguan Army, introduced the Chief of the NNP, Commissioner Francisco Montealegre, to Ori Zoller, the owner of GIR S.A.  Zoller and Calderón had a prior business relationship, as GIR S.A. had sold arms and equipment to the Nicaraguan military in the past.  In the fall of 1999, Zoller presented Montealegre with a proposal to obtain suitable side arms which would not require the NNP to pay cash for the arms.


Zoller and Montealegre worked out an exchange, whereby GIR S.A. would provide the NNP with new side arms (465 Jericho pistols and 100 Uzi-submachineguns) in exchange for aging surplus police AK47s, ammunition and bayonets (initially, 5000 AK47s, 2.5 million rounds of ammunition, and 6000 bayonets). 


Between February and the end of May, 2000, various bureaucratic procedures were undertaken within the Nicaraguan Government to obtain approval for the exchange of arms.  The exchange was approved by the Minister of Gobernación, who has responsibility for the NNP; it was also approved by the President of the Republic (as mentioned in a February 3, 2000 letter from the Minister of Gobernación, see document No. 156 in Annex V).  An exemption to the state purchases Law, to allow for a “sole source” transaction of the arms, was approved by the Comptroller General on May 22.   The Minister of Gobernación also informed the United States Embassy in Managua of the possible exchange, as Zoller originally indicated he would sell the AK47s as collectors items to a broker in the United States, Century International Arms.


While these internal procedures were being followed, Montealegre and Zoller formalized the agreement by jointly signing a letter of intent, outlining the terms under which the exchange was to be made.  Once the various approvals were obtained for the exchange, Zoller and Montealegre signed a formal contract on June 2, 2000.  Among other clauses in the contract was a requirement for Zoller to produce an end-user certificate for the Nicaraguan arms to be exported.


Meanwhile, in order to make the maximum cash profit on the exchange, Zoller was   searching for buyers for the military equipment.  He found three potential buyers for the arms:  1) Brian Sucher, of Century International Arms Inc., based in Miami, Florida;  2) Pedro Bello, another Miami-based arms broker; and 3)  Shimon Yelinek, an Israeli citizen residing in Panama.


Shimon Yelinek was introduced to Zoller by Marco Shrem, another resident of Panama, and an associate of Yelinek.   Zoller’s business partner, Uzi Kissilevich, had been informed by Haim Geri, an advisor to Century International Arms Inc. and former representative of Israeli Military Industries in Colombia, that Marco Shrem was seeking to purchase AK47s.  Once Kissilevich contacted Shrem, and the latter introduced Yelinek, it was only a short time before Zoller and Yelinek reached a deal, as the latter apparently offered Zoller the best price for the Nicaraguan arms and ammunition.


Yelinek and Shrem purported to be acting as brokers or middlemen for the Panamanian National Police, which was allegedly the entity ultimately interested in purchasing the arms and ammunition[3].  Yelinek, Shrem, Zoller, and Yelinek’s brother in law, Haviv Aviad, traveled to Nicaragua on April 28, 2000, to inspect the arms that the Nicaraguan National Police was to provide as part of the exchange.   On May 18, Zoller traveled to Panama to meet Yelinek and Shrem.   Yelinek agreed to purchase 2500 AK47s (later increased to 3000) and 2.5 million rounds of ammunition (later increased to 5 million rounds).  Zoller agreed to have the NNP arms reconditioned and crated, a task which was contracted to the NNP and associates of General Calderón.  That same day, Zoller instructed Kissilevich to fax to Panama GIR S.A.’s bank account information so Yelinek could make a down-payment for the arms purchase.  On June 16, $75,000 was deposited in GIR S.A.’s account, via wire transfer.  The total value of the Zoller-Yelinek deal was approximately $575,000.


Phase II


Over the next several months, Yelinek and Shrem solicited additional price quotes from GIR S.A. for firearms, missiles and other kinds of military equipment.  At the same time, GIR S.A. sent a series of reminders and instructions to Yelinek as to how to send wire-transfers to GIR S.A.’s bank account.   On May 15, 2001, Yelinek met Zoller at his offices in Guatemala City, where he provided Zoller with an alleged Panamanian Police purchase order[4], which specified a much larger quantify of arms and ammunition.  The purchase order included language which could allow the order to be used simultaneously as an end-user certificate.


Yelinek inspected the NNP arms in Nicaragua a second time (this time in the presence of Uzi Kissilevich, Zoller’s associate) on July 4, 2001.   As a result of this inspection, at some point in July or August of 2001, Yelinek indicated to GIR S.A. that the police arms were of poor quality and did not meet his requirements.   Zoller quickly corrected this problem by making a side deal with the army through General Calderón, whereby the army agreed to accept the NNP’s 5000 old AK47s, in return for 3117 new AK47s in the possession of the army.  As a result, these new army weapons would then be the arms exchanged with GIR S.A. under the original contract signed between the NNP and GIR S.A.  In a further modification of the original deal, the Nicaraguan Army also agreed to provide an additional 2.5 million bullets and 3000 additional bayonets; GIR S.A. agreed to provide the army with a number of bullet-proof vests.  Zoller also hired Haim Geri to train the police on their new weapons.


Two side-deals were also arranged by Zoller.  One hundred fifteen of the guns supplied by the Nicaraguan Army, were to be sold to the Guatemalan Military.  Nine thousand bayonets were to be sold to Century International Arms, Inc, in Miami.  From the perspective of laws on international arms trafficking, both of these two side-deals appear to be legitimate.


Virtually at the same time, on July 11, 2001, a Mexican National, Miguel Onattopp Ferriz, reportedly a Captain in the Mexican Merchant Marine, established a new shipping company in Panama City, Trafalgar Maritime Inc., through a Panamanian lawyer, Gustavo Padilla.  The company’s only ship, the Otterloo, had been purchased from Dutch owners in early July 2001, and was given a provisional Panamanian ship’s license on July 24.


Phase III


All of the arrangements necessary to export the arms and ammunition were coordinated between the Nicaraguan Army, which undertook this role on behalf of the NNP, GIR S.A.’s shipping agent, Guatemala-based Leonel Cordon, a shipping agent in Nicaragua, Agencia Vassali S.A., and a customs broker, hired by the police, Agencia Aduanera Canales Aguilar.


By the end of October, 2001, GIR S.A. had virtually fulfilled its side of the bargain with the NNP, providing all but five of the side-arms stipulated in the original contract with the police.  By the middle of the month, Yelinek had wire-transferred to GIR S.A. approximately $550,000, which was only $25,000 short of the total owed.  The logistical aspects had also largely been arranged, and the arms and ammunition were ready to be exported.   On October 19, 2001, Yelinek informed Zoller that the arms and ammunition were to be transported on a Panamanian-flagged vessel, the Otterloo, owned by Panamanian-based Trafalgar Maritime Inc, whose representative was Miguel Onattopp Ferriz.  On October 22, 2001, Police Commissioner Edwin Cordero Ardilla notified the Contraloría General of the quantitative change in the arrangement with GIR S.A., and also the army-police arms exchange.  


The Otterloo sailed from Veracruz, Mexico, on October 15.  Before sailing, the captain of the Otterloo, Iturrios Maciel,  provided Mexican authorities with a signed Bill of Lading in which he stipulated that his ship was transporting 9 containers of plastic balls to Panama.   The Otterloo arrived at the Nicaraguan port of El Rama on November 26.    After a delay of several days, on November 2, 2001, the Otterloo was loaded with 14 containers of arms and ammunition.  The Otterloo’s captain signed a ship manifest and a Bill of Lading stating that the ship had been loaded with the 14 containers and that the ship’s destination was the port of Colón, Panama.  The Otterloo left Nicaragua on November 3, 2001.  


On November 5, 2001, the Otterloo arrived at the port of Turbo, on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, without ever having stopped in Panama.  The ship was unloaded two days later by a Colombian shipping company called Banadex S.A., at the request of a shipping agent Turbana Ltd.  The Otterloo sailed for Baranquilla on November 9, where the Captain, Jesus Iturrios Maciel disembarked, stating he was ill, and disappeared.  After a series of other stops, the Otterloo returned to Panama.


In April 2002 Trafalgar Maritime, Inc. was dissolved and the Otterloo was sold to a Colombian citizen, Edgar Enrique Aaron Villalba (see document No. 11, Annex III).  The Investigative Team was informed that the new owner may have registered the ship in Belize.  However, the Government of Belize has not been able to find the vessel in its registry, the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize.


A final footnote to this arms diversion was provided by the leader of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, Carlos Castaño, On June 30, 2002, in an interview granted to Colombia’s newspaper, El Tiempo, he answered a question about the Otterloo,  and said “This is the greatest achievement by the AUC so far.  Through Central America, five shipments, 13 thousand rifles”, (see document No. 14a in Annex V).


Phase IV


Almost immediately after the Otterloo unloaded its cargo in Turbo, a second, larger arms sale began to be organized by Zoller, at the request of Yelinek, also allegedly for the Panamanian National Police.  On November 21, Zoller sent a fax to the Nicaraguan Army, explaining that the PNP wished to purchase an additional 5000 AK47s and 17 million rounds of ammunition.  He attached a copy of the same Panamanian purchase order, dated February 10, 2000.  Zoller began making arrangements with his shipping agent to purchase 23 containers for this second shipment of arms.  A January 3, 2002, fax from Kissilevich to Leonel Cordon informed Cordon that the containers should be sent to the Nicaraguan Army in Managua, and that the contact person was General Calderon’s aide, Major Rivas.   On January 11, 2002, the Nicaraguan Army issued a bill for $980,000 addressed to the PNP.  On January 16, 2002, Yelinek wire-transfered $50,000 to GIR S.A’s account as a down-payment.


Towards the end of January, 2002, Colombian authorities became aware that the AUC had received the Nicaraguan arms, and informed the Panamanian Naval Intelligence Service, who in turn informed the Nicaraguan Army on January 30, 2002.   This put into motion a three-nation effort on the part of Colombian, Panamanian and Nicaraguan intelligence services[5].  Representatives of the three services met in Managua in early February, and on February 6, signed an agreement called “Operation Triangle” (Operación Triangulo), described as a “sting” operation to catch the arms traffickers, utilizing the second deal being organized by Zoller (See Annex V, document No. 24). The NNP was not informed by the Nicaraguan Army that the arms they had exchanged had been diverted to Colombia, nor were they included in Operación Triangulo.


Zoller, in an interview with the Investigative Team, said that on or about February 15, 2002, he decided to stop the second deal when General Calderón informed him of Operación Triangulo.  He notified Julio Solis of Agencia Vassali as well as his own agent, Leonel Cordon, that he no longer needed the containers.  General Calderón told the OAS Investigating Team that Zoller knew nothing about Operación Triangulo.  


IV.  Analysis:


Although it was not the purpose of this investigation to uncover wrongdoing on the part of any specific individual, governments may wish to probe further into the facts to determine if their national laws have been violated.  The following provides the Investigative Team’s own perspective.


As a general comment, the Team would note that although a great deal of interest and attention to detail is evident in the movement of the firearms out of Nicaragua, Zoller, Kissilevich and the others involved readily accepted the bogus Panamanian purchase order, and displayed a complete lack of interest as to where the arms were ultimately going.  There is no record of any communications between GIR S.A. and the Panamanian Police Force or any other Panamanian authority. Nothing in the evidence indicates that Zoller, Kissilevich, or any of the many Nicaraguan officials involved ever attempted to verify whether the purchase order provided by Yelinek was legitimate. As well, to rely on this one purchase order, unsupported by any other documentation  throughout this complex transaction, and to utilize this one document as determinative of the identity of the end-user, is unprofessional and not credible.  This matter becomes even more damning considering that a second, larger, shipment was planned for the same alleged customer immediately on the heels of the first shipment.  Again, no efforts were made by anyone involved to contact Panamanian authorities, even though it is difficult to understand why the Panamanian Police Force would purchase upwards of 8000 AK47s and 22 million rounds of ammunition when the entire force consists of only 13,000 officers, including administrative staff, and when the NNP leadership had recognized that AK47s were unfit for police work.


(1) The brokers and shippers


Messrs. Zoller and Kissilevich of GIR S.A. in Guatemala, Yelinek and Shrem in Panama, Onattopp Ferriz, the owner of the shipping company Trafalgar Maritime Inc., and Iturrios Maciel, the captain of the Otterloo, are the persons most closely linked to the diversion.


Yelinek, situated in Panama, appears consistently at the heart of the matter.  He provided Zoller with the Panamanian purchase order on which the sale of the Nicaraguan firearms was based.  He  inspected the NNP arms,  pronounced them unfit and with Zoller set in train the substitution of army firearms. Yelinek paid GIR S.A. for the arms and provided GIR S.A. the name of the Otterloo, communicated the particulars about the company that owned it, and the name of its legal representative. Yelinek departed Panama in April 2002, shortly after the diversion became public, and reappeared only in mid-November 2002, when he was arrested by Panamanian authorities on suspicion of arms trafficking.  His abrupt departure from Panama following the publicizing of the original diversion seems to indicate that he did not wish to be present to be investigated in any possible proceeding.   At the time this report was published, Yelinek was still in Panamanian custody.


Onatopp Ferriz established Trafalgar Maritime Inc. in early July 2001, purchased the Otterloo, registered it in Panama and obtained its provisional Certificate of Navigation from the Panamanian authorities.  Coincident with the timing of Yelinek’s departure from Panama, the offices of Trafalgar closed in April 2002.  Onatopp Ferriz also disappeared from Panama around the same time.


The captain of the Otterloo, Iturrios Maciel, signed the cargo manifest and Bill of Lading, both of which falsely indicate that the final destination of the arms was the port of Colón, Panama.  Iturrios Maciel also signed the Acta de Salida form of Nicaragua’s Ministerio de Gobernación, again falsely declaring his departure to Colón and stating the same destination to the Nicaraguan navy.  Two days later, confirmation of the Otterloo’s arrival at Turbo, Colombia was evidenced by Iturrios’ signature on a Colombian Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad form.  The Otterloo then proceeded to Barranquilla where Iturrios disembarked and disappeared.


Ori Zoller and Uzi Kissilevich coordinated of all the activities associated with the sale of the Nicaraguan arms.  They put all of the deals together and had on-going contacts with many Nicaraguan officials including NNP Commissioner Montealegre, his successor, Commissioner Cordero, their subordinates, with General Calderón, Major Rivas and other army officers. In addition GIR S.A. seems to have had undue influence over internal Nicaraguan aspects of the transfer considering that they are civilians and foreigners.  They were the link to Shrem, Yelinek, Haim Geri and others, and had extensive dealings involving this and other potential firearms transactions, as well as proposed arms transactions after the diversion.  They accepted the fraudulent Panamanian Police purchase order from Yelinek and provided it to Nicaraguan authorities for both the original deal, as well as the potential second arms sale.  For experienced arms brokers, at best, Zoller and Kissilevich exhibited negligence and perhaps willful blindness over this part of the transaction. 


(2)   The Nicaraguan Authorities


(a)   The NNP and Nicaraguan Civilian Authorities


The initial proposed exchange of the NNP’s obsolete weapons to Zoller in exchange for new ones appears to have been conducted in a transparent fashion. NNP Commissioner Montealegre’s January 2000 correspondence to Minister Herrera seeking his approval of the letter of intent to effect the exchange with GIR S.A,. and the need to obtain an end-use certificate as a part of the transaction are evidence of this.  Herrera also told Commissioner Montealegre of the need to submit the proposal to the Contaloría.  This was required because the acquisition of the new arms from GIR S. A. was  considered a government purchase which, pursuant to Article 3 (k) of the Ley de Contrataciones del Estado required that an open bidding competition be held.


Subsequently Montealegre and Minister Herrera asked the Contraloría to grant an exemption from the usual bidding processes ordinarily required for government purchases.  Initially, the Contraloría found deficiencies in the application which it challenged.  However, these were specific technical points: failure to cite the value of the (obsolete) Nicaraguan arms being traded, failure to cite the bonafides of GIR S.A., and failure to show the Government of Israel’s approval of the sale of IMI firearms (through GIR S.A.). The basis of the proposal itself was not questioned, and after reviewing the NNP reply, a “Cédula de Notificación” that granted the exemption was issued in May 2000 under the general criteria of “reasons of urgency, security or others in the public interest”.  The Contraloría further stated that the exemption was granted to permit formalization of the agreement with GIR S.A. and to avoid having the firearms fall into the hands of terrorists and drug-traffickers.  This process appears to be in accordance with established internal procedures.


Although the Contraloría requested that the Government of Israel’s approval of the transaction be obtained (given that the Government of Israel is the owner of Israeli Military Industries, IMI), no effort was made by Commissioner Montealegre of Minister Herrera to comply with this request.  Instead, the contract signed by Zoller and Montealegre simply included a statement explaining that the transaction was one between the Nicaraguan National Police and a commercial entity, and not a government to government transaction, and therefore, it was not possible to obtain approval from the government of Israel.


(b) The Nicaraguan Army


When Yelinek inspected the NNP arms for a second time, and informed GIR S.A. that the arms were unsatisfactory, General Calderón, apparently with no other authorization, made the army’s firearms available as a substitute.  The substitution is simply noted in  an Acta de Entrega documenting the transfer of the army’s firearms to the NNP.  In late October NNP Commissioner Francisco Bautista Lara wrote to the Nicaraguan Ministry of Finance requesting a change in the official records of the NNP’s firearms inventory.  The Ministry of Finance promptly replied to Lara that the records of the firearms holdings of the NNP had been adjusted.  The ministry also indicated, in a separate communication to NNP Deputy Chief Commissioner Cordero Ardilla, that the export transaction had been approved.


Through Major Rivas, Calderón’s aide de camp, the army took responsibility for the logistics of the export operation, transporting the firearms to the coast and supervising loading them on the Otterloo.  The army also coordinated with Leonel Cordon, GIR S.A.’s shipping agent, and Agencia Vassali, which  prepared the Bill of Lading to ensure  that the shipment could be exported.


Although there is no firm evidence that the army acted illegally, it is not clear under what authority General Calderón exchanged army firearms for NNP firearms, much less  trading serviceable, or new, AK47s for reportedly useless ones.


Again, although the original contract was drastically changed from what the Contraloría approved, it appears legal since Nicaraguan law states that the NNP has the authority to approve the export of firearms, (Art. 76 (e) of Decree 26-96, the Reglamento de la Ley de la Policia Nacional de Nicaragua, 1996), and the army was arguably acting in this case for the NNP.  Therefore, while there is a system of controls in place and an adherence to certain Nicaraguan legal regulations is required, there are significant weaknesses in Nicaraguan law.


(c) Private Nicaraguan Entities


In October of 2001 when the export transaction was brought to the attention of (then) Minister of Gobernación, Ing. Marenco Cardenal, he requested the Director of the  Nicaraguan Center for Export Administration, CETREX, (Centro de Trámites de Exportación de Nicaragua) to take the necessary steps to have the arms exported. The CETREX Export Form was completed by Agencia Canales Aguilar documenting the shipment of the arms to the PNP at the port of Colón, Panama.


Agencia Canales Aguilar is a private enterprise not a government agency, but it appears that the government depended on it to ensure the security of an international movement of firearms.  Apparently Canales Aguilar was acting under the authority of the Nicaraguan Police, by means of powers granted it by a “power of attorney” signed  before a notary on October 30, 2001, by Commissioner Bautista Lara under authority granted him by Commissioner Edwin Cordero.  This document contains important deviations in the specifications of where, and how many, arms and ammunition were to be exported when compared with the actual quantities exported (see document No. 60 in Annex V).


On November 2, 2001 a Nicaraguan Customs Form documenting shipment of the arms to the PNP, as well as a ship manifest and Bill of Lading were filed.  These last documents are on Agencia Vassali stationery, another private company whose role and authority in the arms transaction is not  fully explained.  They documented that the arms and ammunition were being sent to the Panamanian Police, and were certified by the Otterloo’s Captain, Iturrios Maciel.


There are a number of Nicaraguan government mechanisms applicable to arms export, which in fact were applied to the export of this shipment of firearms.  These however do not meet the Government of Nicaragua's responsibilities under the CIFTA Convention.  In the last analysis the existing Nicaraguan mechanisms are clearly inadequate since their application was incapable of preventing the diversion.


(3) The Panamanian Authorities


The Government of Panama does not appear to have been involved in the transaction.  Panama factors only because the Panamanian National Police Force is identified as the purchaser of the arms and ammunition on the purchase order provided by Yelinek.  Panama has consistently denounced the purchase order as a fake.  How and from what source the purchase order came into Yelinek’s possession is not known.


Other than the purchase order, there is no other paper or statement that links the Panamanian Police Force to the transaction.  All recorded communications coming from  inside Panama flow from Yelinek to Zoller or Kissilevich, never from the Panamanian Police Force and, it might be added, never to any of the Nicaraguan authorities.


The registration of the Otterloo and the establishment of Trafalgar Maritime Inc. occur in Panama.   While this reflects the country’s liberal commercial and maritime practices, those events are not indicative of any role by government authorities in the diversion nor did they contribute materially to what happened. 


(4) Colombia


What actually occurred at Turbo remains a mystery.  It is clear that the Otterloo made port in Turbo based on the signing by its captain, Iturrios Maciel, of a Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad Seccional Antioquia, Puerto Operativo Turbo form.  But  beyond that, all that is known is that the guns somehow found their way to the AUC. This would have meant that someone in Colombia, associated with Yelinek, Onattopp Ferriz or possibly even the Otterloo Captain, Iturrios Maciel  was ultimately responsible for the illegal importation of the arms onto Colombian soil.


V.  Legal Commentary


A number of national laws appear to have been broken.  Yelinek appears to have committed a fraud in passing off a false Panamanian Police purchase order for the firearms.  This would constitute an offence under Panamanian law, and, to the extent that the fraudulent purchase order was accepted by Nicaraguan authorities, a contravention of Nicaraguan law as well. More importantly, Yelinek’s actions together with those of Onattopp Ferriz and Captain Iturrios Maciel of the Otterloo constituted part of a conspiracy to fraudulently export firearms from Nicaragua and to import them into Colombia.


Likewise, Iturrios Maciel committed fraud under Nicaraguan and perhaps Panamanian law when he falsely certified the destination of the firearms on the manifest and on the Bill of Lading and then went to a different destination.  If Iturrios was acting under the direction of the Otterloo’s owner, Onattopp Ferriz, would also be guilty of fraud and of violating Panamanian, Nicaraguan and Colombian laws.


The importation of firearms into Panama is controlled by Article 307 of the Constitution of 1972 (as amended by legislative Acts of 1983 and 1994); by Article 1 of Decree No. 2 of 1991, and; by Article 11 of Decree No. 354 of 1948.   The Constitution provides that only the government may possess military weapons and products. Executive permission is required for their manufacture, importation and export. It further provides that the government will define arms not considered to be non-military, and regulate their importation, manufacture and use.


Under Panamanian law, the Ministry of Government and Justice (Gobierno y Justicia) can authorize natural or legal persons to engage in the business of importing firearms and ammunition for hunting, sport and personal defense (which does not include the types of firearms that were being exported from Nicaragua).   All requests to import firearms and ammunition must be made to the Minister of Gobierno y Justicia, and a certified copy (copia autenticada) of a permit approved by the Ministry of Gobierno y Justicia is required for the merchandise to be released from customs storage, as is evidence of the payment of duties.


Clearly, importation into Panama of the types and quantities of firearms in this case required considerably more than a purchase order.  Presumably Zoller and Kissilvich, as established arms dealers in the region, would have knowledge of these requirements and could have questioned the purchase order provided by Yelinek.  The same,  perhaps, can also be said of the Nicaraguan authorities in this case. 


Colombian law was violated because, among other reasons, under Colombia’s Constitution and applicable law, only the Government may introduce or manufacture firearms, ammunition and explosives.   The fact that the arms ended up in the hands of the AUC could also mean that in addition to committing a smuggling offence, Yelinek, Iturrios, Onattopp Ferriz, and possibly Zoller and his associates, may have also committed an offence against Colombia’s anti-terrorism laws, as well as the laws of other countries which sanction assistance to terrorist groups.


The applicable Nicaraguan law appears to be Art. 76 (e) of Decree 26-96 which states that the NNP has responsibility for authorizing the export of firearms. This perhaps explains why other approvals to authorize export of the firearms were not sought, since the NNP has the primary authority.


Independently of whether laws were broken, the adequacy of Nicaraguan laws and the extent to which Nicaraguan national practices are effective for controlling movements of firearms is open to serious question.  The fact that there is no clear evidence that laws were broken in this case by Nicaraguan authorities, and yet the diversion took place, is strong testimony that the laws and practices are seriously inadequate.


VI.  Application of the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials, (CIFTA)


Two of the principal countries involved in this case, Nicaragua and Panama, have ratified the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and  Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials, (CIFTA).  Adherence to the Convention and application of its provisions to national practices would have made the diversion far more difficult, if not prevented it outright.


(a)    Illicit Trafficking


The key element of illicit trafficking is the absence of authorization by any other State Party involved in the international movement of firearms. In this particular case, even though Panama was allegedly the recipient State, there was no authorization, nor were there any attempts to verify that Panama had indeed authorized any arms purchase.  


(b)    Import and Export Provisions[6]


In the case of Nicaragua, the provisions of the Convention that address exports of         

firearms were not applied.  Articles VIII, IX, and X of the Convention call for the application of effective and secure measures to prevent illicit trafficking of firearms.


Key among these is Article IX, entitled Export, Import and In-Transit Licenses or Authorizations, which in paragraph 3. provides as follows:    “3. States Parties before releasing shipments of firearms, ammunition, explosives and other related materials for export shall ensure that the importing and in-transit countries have issued the necessary licenses or authorizations.” 


In a broader sense, Paragraph 1 of Article IX calls for the States Parties to “establish or maintain an effective system of export, import and international transit licenses or authorizations for transfers of firearms”, while Article VIII, Security Measures, requires the States Parties, “in an effort to eliminate loss or diversion, [...] undertake to adopt the necessary measures to ensure the security of firearms and ammunition imported into, exported from or in transit through their respective territories.” A particular security measure is called for in Article X which calls for the “strengthening of controls at export points.”  


While the Nicaraguan authorities apparently exercised a measure of control over a number of internal steps concerning the export of the arms, the absence of any contact between officials in Nicaragua and Panama to confirm the legitimacy of the transaction is a glaring deficiency.  The Convention requires that before shipments are released, the authorities responsible for the exportation must be satisfied that the receiving country has authorized the importation.  A purchase order alone, even had it been legitimate, cannot serve as the sole and sufficient authority upon which Nicaraguan officials could authorize the export.  Under Nicaraguan law, the responsibility to ensure compliance would appear to lie with the entity ultimately responsible for approving the export, in this case, the NNP.  By failing to confirm the legitimacy of the purchase order with their Panamanian counterparts, the Nicaraguan National Police, although perhaps adhering to national practice, violated the Convention.


As with Article IX, the Nicaraguan government’s adherence to Articles VIII and X, which require controls over the security of the exported firearms is questionable. 


(c )  Exchange of Relevant Information


The exchange of relevant information between States Parties called for under Article XIII of the Convention was plainly lacking. There is no indication that Nicaraguan authorities ever attempted to verify from Panamanian authorities that there was an import license for the arms it was proposing to export.  The authorities involved took on faith that the firearms would go to the stated destination, based upon fraudulent information provided third-hand by Yelinek.


An exchange of information on the matters referred to in clause 1. (a) of Article XIII about “authorized producers, dealers, importers, exporters and, wherever possible carriers, of firearms …” would have been helpful to authorities in determining whether business should be carried on with such individuals as Yelinek and Shrem, Zoller and Kissilevich.



VII.  Issues Requiring Further Investigation:


The OAS Investigation Team reviewed all available documentation in this case and conducted exhaustive interviews.  However, the Organization of American States has no police powers, and although the Team requested certain information from several governments, investigators and prosecutors are understandably reluctant, and in some cases barred by national laws, to share evidentiary information.   As a result, it is the  Team's opinion that the following areas require follow-on criminal investigations by national governments:


  1. The governments of Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama should investigate the business relationship and dealings between GIR S.A., the Nicaraguan officials involved, and Shimon Yelinek and his associates, to determine if violations of anti-corruption laws have occurred.   A thorough cooperative investigation into their financial transactions must be done to determine what laws were violated.  Annex V, document No. 179, contains copies of wire transfers sent to GIR S.A.'s account. 


  1. The fraudulent Panamanian Police purchase order gives rise to numerous questions.  Where did it originate?  How did the individuals preparing the false document determine the authorizing names (which are of legitimate officials) to put on the document?  What is the significance of the extensive listing and sophistication of arms on the document - a list far in excess of the reasonable needs of the Panamanian Police, a force consisting of only 13,000 officers, including many unarmed administrative staff?  Why did none of the many persons involved in the events, including Zoller, Calderón, Montealegre, Cordero and others never question the legitimacy or content of such an inappropriate and unlikely document?


  1. The governments of Panama and Mexico should cooperate to find and interview Miguel Onattopp Ferriz and Jesus Iturrios Maciel and to conduct criminal investigations into their activities in this case.


  1. The Government of Nicaragua should conduct a thorough sight check of the Nicaraguan Army's inventory of arms and ammunition.  The Investigative Team has been able to positively ascertain that the Nicaraguan Army, through General Calderón, was approached on a number of different occasions by GIR S.A. for the sale of arms and ammunition, in addition to contacts related to the exchange of arms which is the subject of this report.


One such occasion occurred on January 5, 2001, when GIR S.A. sent a fax to Calderón, listing arms and ammunition, including twin and four barrel anti-aircraft guns, surface to air missiles, rocket propelled grenades, anti-tank "launchers" and small arms, with quantities and prices (see document No. 121 in Annex V).   The document was a request from Zoller for the sale of Nicaraguan Army equipment, at the prices and quantities listed by Zoller.  The Investigative Team has been able to link this list of arms to a request from a Lebanese arms broker, Samih Osailly currently in custody in Europe and under investigation by several nations for ties to Al-Queda.  He was at the time working for the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone, under an arms-for-diamonds arrangement[7].  This broker sought to purchase arms and ammunition from Shimon Yelinek, who in turn sent the list of arms and ammunition to Zoller, who forwarded the list to General Calderón.


While the Investigative Team did not uncover any evidence to suggest that the  Nicaraguan Army acted on Zoller's request of January 5, 2001; this fact, plus the dealings relating to the second arms shipment allegedly to the PNP organized in the fall of 2001 and early 2002, suggest that international arms brokers repeatedly saw Nicaragua as a potential source of weapons of war for illegal purposes.


  1. The Government of Colombia should ascertain whether any of the diverted arms have been recovered during operations against the AUC.  The Investigative Team has been told informally that this is the case.   Document 80 in Annex V, lists the serial numbers of the arms diverted to Colombia.


  1. The June 30, 2002 statement by Carlos Castaño (see document No. 14a in Annex V) implying that the Otterloo had provided 13,000 rifles is inexplicable.  The diversion investigated by the OAS team supposedly involved only 3000 AK47s.  If at all possible, the governments involved should try and reconcile these apparent incongruities.  The Government of Colombia should ascertain whether any Nicaraguan AK47s, beyond the 3000 that were shipped to Turbo aboard the Otterloo, have been recovered in Colombia.  


  1. Although the Team had no mandate to delve into the details of the second shipment, it presents a number of inconsistencies which require further investigation and which may also shed more light on the initial diversion:  The documentation shows that the purported "sting" operation (operación triangulo) was conceived after Nicaraguan and Panamanian officials became aware that the original shipment had been diverted to the AUC.  These officials became aware of the diversion on or about January 30, 2002 (see document No. 27, in Annex V).   Yet it appears that Zoller and the Nicaraguan Army were much further along in the operational execution of the second shipment than previously reported since it had been initiated more than two months before officials in any of the countries involved knew that the initial shipment had been diverted.  Only three weeks after the first shipment left Nicaragua, on November 21, 2001, Zoller sent the Nicaraguan Army a written request to purchase an additional 5000 AK47s and 17 million rounds of ammunition, using the same false Panamanian purchase order dated February 10, 2000.   On January 11, 2002, the Nicaraguan army issued an invoice addressed to the PNP for $980,000 for payment for the arms and ammunition, but sent the invoice to Zoller and not the Panamanian Police.   Zoller acknowledges sending his November 21 note to the army, but claims that he sent it on January 31, 2002, and that it was back-dated to November 21, 2001 at the request of the army.   This series of facts leads the Investigative Team to suspect that Zoller and the Nicaraguan Army were well aware that the Panamanian purchase order was fraudulent, and that the second shipment of arms was not going to the PNP.  Otherwise, why send the invoice to Zoller instead of the PNP?  These facts also give rise to the question as to  whether the original diversion was in fact the only sale of arms to Zoller, especially when considered in light of Carlos Castaños' statement of June 30, 2002.


VIII.  Conclusions:


1.       It appears that Shimon Yelinek committed fraud by providing a forged purchase order from the Panamanian National Police to serve as an end-user certificate for the arms exchange.  As the purchaser of the arms, he also apparently planned and organized an illegal arms diversion for the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia, a group considered a terrorist organization.  Yelinek is also likely guilty of violating Colombian anti-terrorism laws, and possibly Panamanian anti-terrorism laws, among others.  Marco Shrem appears complicit in these activities, but to an unknown degree.


2.       Miguel Onattopp Ferriz established Trafalgar Maritime Inc. in July 2001 as a front company for the purpose of transporting arms to the AUC.  It appears that he was engaged in criminal activity and was conspiring with Yelinek to provide the AUC with arms, thus violating Colombian, and possibly Panamanian anti-terrorism, and other laws.


3.       Captain Iturrios Maciel provided Mexican authorities with a signed Bill of Lading in which he deliberately and wrongly stipulated Panama as the destination of 9 containers of plastic balls.  He also provided Nicaraguan authorities with a signed Bill of Lading and ship manifest in which he deliberately and wrongly stipulated Panama as the destination of his ship and its cargo of arms.  Iturrios Maciel, along with his first mate, Carlos Aguilar, may have been cognizant of, and participants in the arms diversion.  Iturrios Maciel is also apparently criminally complicit in providing arms and ammunition to a terrorist organization, and of violating Colombian anti-terrorism and other laws.


4.       Although the Investigative Team found no evidence that Ori Zoller and Uzi Kissilevich were co-conspirators in the arms diversion, their failure to make any attempt to verify the actual destination for the arms, not only for one, but for two shipments to the same customer, contributed to the diversion.  At the least they appear guilty of serious neglect and their actions will lead to the loss of life in Colombia.  As well, their association with Yelinek and his attempts to locate arms for the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone should be investigated to determine if they are criminally liable.


5.       The Government of Nicaragua failed to comply with a number of provisions of the CIFTA convention.  Nicaraguan authorities are guilty of professional negligence and with violating the CIFTA convention with their failure to verify whether the Panamanian National Police were indeed the true end-users in the arms exchange.  One telephone call could have prevented the entire arms diversion.  The involvement of the Nicaraguan Army in the first arms deal appears to be legitimate, even if negligent, not least of which because the exchange was to benefit another part of the Nicaraguan State (the Police) but because the transaction with Zoller was essentially cashless.  However, the same cannot be said about the army's involvement in the second arms shipment.  Here it appears that senior officers in the army acted criminally in their plan to sell state goods in return for almost one million U.S. dollars, without the knowledge of Nicaragua's civilian authorities, using a purchase order that was unlikely to be legitimate and which was almost two years old.


6.       There appears to be no involvement of Panamanian authorities in the exchange of arms, or their diversion.  The issue of where the forged purchase order originated remains unresolved. 


7.       Colombia is the victim of the arms diversion.  However several Colombian customs agents were likely accomplices of, or were bribed by, the AUC in order to allow the Otterloo to land its cargo of arms and ammunition in the port of Turbo.




Documented Chronology of the Chain of Events




The entire chain of events has been reconstructed based on documentary and other evidence:


·         On October 26, 1999, GIR S.A. sent Commissioner Montealegre a fax, stipulating the conditions and terms for an arms exchange:   Three million 7.62 x 39 caliber bullets; 6000 Kalashnikov AK47 assault rifles; 24,000 AK47 magazines; and 6000 AK47 bayonets – in exchange for – 500 9mm Jericho pistols and accessories, and 100 9mm Mini-Uzi machine pistols and accessories, both manufactured by IMI. [See doc. No. 177, Annex V].


·         On November 2, 1999, another fax was sent by GIR S.A., signed by Kissilevich, the Director General of the company, outlining the same terms for the exchange, but this time assigning a monetary value to the arms to be exchanged.  The NNP arms, ammunition and accessories were valued at $261,000; and the IMI arms and accessories were valued at $264,000. [See doc. No. 176, Annex V].


·         On November 4, 1999, Uzi Kissilevich sent a fax to Century International Arms, an arms company based in Fairfax, Vermont and Miami, Florida, to the attention of  Haim Geri.  Kissilevich informed Geri that NNP Commissioner Montealegre agreed to sell the arms, ammunition and accessories.   He also informed Geri that they were attempting to identify arms which were not of Russian manufacture and forwarded some prices for the goods established by Montealegre (saying that Montealegre complained the original prices for the goods were too low).  Kissilevich asked Geri to keep in mind that “tanto la mercaderia, como su empaque, se encuentran en perfecto estado”. [See doc. No. 175, Annex V].


·         On November 11, 1999 – Haim Geri sent an e-mail to  Kissilevich asking him to send a price quote for 2000 new AK47s to Marco Shrem, located in Panama, adding Shrem’s fax number (507-217-6023 and 507 215-2306) and telling Kissilevich to say that he was sending the fax at the request of Geri. [See doc. No. 173, Annex V]


·         On November 12, 1999 Kissilevich sent Shrem the quote for 2000 new AK47s. [See doc. No. 172, 171, Annex V].


·         On December 2, 1999, Century International Arms Inc. sent Ori Zoller a fax signed by Brian Sucher, in which Century agreed to purchase the 3 million 7.62 x 39 caliber bullets; 2000 AK47 assault rifles; 24,000 AK47 magazines; and 6000 AK47 bayonets; provided such goods were in very good condition, and were importable into the United States. [See doc. No. 170, Annex V].


·         On December 3, 1999, Zoller sent a fax to Commissioner Montealegre, thanking him for his courtesy during Zoller’s visit to Nicaragua, and once again, outlining the goods to be exchanged:  3 million 7.62 x 39 caliber bullets; 6000 AK47s assault rifles; 24,000 AK47 magazines; and 6000 AK47 bayonets – in return for 600 9mm Jericho pistols and accessories, and 100 9mm Mini-Uzi machine pistols and accessories. [See doc. No. 168, Annex V].


On the same day, GIR S.A. sent an un-signed draft end-user certificate letter to Marco Shrem’s fax number in Panama. [See doc. No. 169, Annex V].


§         On December 20, 2000, GIR S.A. sent an “invoice”, really a note offering goods at a certain price, to Pedro Bello, President of “Armamentos Inc.”, with offices in West Palm Beach, FL, offering for sale the 3 million 7.62 x 39 caliber bullets; 6000 AK47s assault rifles; 24,000 AK47 magazines; and 6000 AK47 bayonets. [See doc. No. 166, Annex V]. The same day, Bello wrote back asking for clarification as to whether GIR S.A. was offering 3 million rounds of ammunition, or 300,000 thousand. [See doc. No. 167, Annex V]. Kissilevich later confirmed that it was 3 million. [See doc. No. 165, Annex V].


§         On January 14, 2000, Zoller and Kissilevich sent a fax to Marco Shrem in Panama, regarding his travel to Nicaragua to inspect the arms – the inspection was scheduled to take place on January 18. [See doc. No. 162, Annex V].


§         Also on January 14, 2000, GIR S.A. sent Commissioner Luis Muñoz Morales, Chief of General Administration of the NNP, a corrected draft version of the letter of intent outlining the terms of the exchange between GIR S.A. and the NNP.  The quantity of NNP equipment was changed in the revision: from 3 million rounds of ammunition to 2.5 million rounds, from 6000 AK47s to 5000 AK47s; and the AK47 magazines were dropped from the deal.   In exchange, GIR S.A. would then provide the NNP with 450 Jericho pistols and 100 Mini-Uzis [See doc. No. 163, Annex V]. These changes were confirmed in a fax from GIR S.A. to Commissioner Montealegre sent January 19, 2000. [See doc. No. 161, Annex V].


§         On or about January 18, 2000, Zoller inspected the arms in Nicaragua, possibly along with Marco Shrem. [See doc. No. 2, Annex III]. 


§         On January 21, 2000, Pedro Bello wrote to Kissilevich, asking him for the new quantity of items ready to be sold, along with the date he could go and inspect the goods.  He lamented that an earlier inspection was not possible and stated that he had buyers ready to see the goods. [See doc. No. 160, Annex V].


·         On January 27, 2000 Commissioner Muñoz wrote to Commissioner Montealegre, forwarding him the draft letter of intent, explaining that GIR S.A. had accepted the NNP’s last changes [presumably a change in the number of Jericho pistols the police was to receive, 465 instead of 450 [See doc. No. 159, Annex V]. [See note of March 2, 2000 below].


·         The same day, Commissioner Montealegre wrote to Minister René Herrera, Ministro de Gobernación, who had oversight of the National Police, sending him the draft letter of intent for the exchange of arms with GIR.SA.  Montealegre said he intended to sign the letter of intent, adding that he would include a clause in the letter which would require GIR S.A. to provide an end-user certificate for the arms exchanged by the NNP. [See doc. No. 158, Annex V].


·         On February 1, 2000, Montealegre wrote again to Minister Herrera, and asked that Herrera give him written permission to execute the exchange, request approval from the Contraloría General, and sign the letter of intent. [See doc. No. 157, Annex V].


·         On February, 3, 2000, Minister Herrera replied to Montealegre and approved the exchange of arms.   Herrera mentioned that the Nicaraguan Presidency, and the US Embassy in Managua had been informed about the exchange of armament.   He further mentioned that the exchange should  be submitted to the Controlaría General for approval.   [This latter point  was made because government purchases are subject to article 3 (k) of Law 323, Ley de Contrataciones del Estado, which requires that purchases be made by open bid competition.  In order to effect the exchange with GIR S.A., a waiver of the bidding process would have to be granted by the Controlaría.] [See doc. No. 156, Annex V].


·         On March 1, 2000, Minister Herrera wrote to Guillermo Arguello Poessy, the Contralor General of Nicaragua, requesting his help in obtaining the waiver from the Contraloría for the transaction in question. [See doc. No. 155, Annex V].


·         On March 2, 2000, GIR S.A. sent  a fax to Montealegre, with the final changes to the terms of the exchange, i.e. 465 Jericho pistols, instead of 450. [See doc. No. 154, Annex V].


·         On March 3, 2000, Kissilevich sent Montealegre a fax which contained Ori Zoller’s travel information for a visit to Managua, to take place on March 6, 2000. [See doc. No. 153, Annex V].


·         On March 8, 2000, Commissioner Montealegre and Ori Zoller, signed a “Convenio de Intención de Recambio de Armamento” – a letter of intent establishing the terms of reference for the eventual exchange.  The terms in the notice made the exchange subject to approval by the Ministry of Gobernación, and by the Contraloría General.  Under the term, GIR S.A. was required to produce an end-user certificate for the weaponry. [See doc. No. 152, Annex V].


·         On April 4, 2000, in a note to Herrera, Arguello informed him that the Contraloría could not approve the exemption to the bidding process until additional information regarding the exchange was provided.  Arguello requested information on the quantity and value of the arms to be exchanged and also mentioned that the exemption request lacked the “documentos inherentes a la legalidad de esta Empresa [GIR S.A.], su denominación, domicilio, constitución, debida autorización del Estado Israelí, y otras consideraciones pertinentes a la delicada operación propuesta.” and mentioned that these should also be provided. [See doc. No. 150, Annex V].


·         On the same day, Pedro Bello, wrote to Zoller and Kissilevich saying that GIR S.A. had not produced the much talked-about inventory [of arms] in Managua, and that they should call when they had something firm. [See doc. No. 151, Annex V].


·         On April 28, Zoller sent Commissioner Muñoz a draft end-user certificate, which the NNP was supposed to sign and send to Amiram Maor, Director of Marketing for Latin America, of IMI, certifying the end-use for 500 Jericho pistols. [See doc. No. 148, Annex V].


·         Also on April 28, 2000, Shrem and Yelineck met Zoller in Managua to inspect the NNP’s inventory. [Interview with Zoller and Shrem].


·         On May 2, 2000, Kissilevich sent Commissioner Muñoz another note outlining the latest terms of the change.  The number of Jericho pistols had then been increased to 500.  The rest of the terms remained unchanged:  Jerichos, plus 100 uzis, in exchange for 2.5 million rounds, 5000 AK47s and 6000 bayonets – the transaction was valued by Kissilevich to be worth $250,000. [See doc. No. 147, Annex V].


·         On May 4, 2000, Montealegre sent Arguello some documents in an attempt to address Arguello’s concerns outlined in his April 4 letter to Herrera.  Montealegre did not address the question of Zoller’s “debida autorización del Estado Israeli” – Montealegre further qualified the NNP’s arms as obsolete, and hence of no monetary value. [See doc. No. 144, Annex V].


On the same day, Zoller wrote to Commissioner Muñoz, providing him with a detailed breakdown of the costs of the IMI equipment GIR S.A. was going to provide to the NNP.   The total cost was $242,000. [See doc. No. 145, Annex V].


·         On May 12, 2000, Heriberto Correa Guerrero, Director of Contrataciones Administrativas del Estado, of the Contraloría General, wrote to Commissioner  Muñoz, requesting the quantity and unit value of the NNP items to be exchanged.  He also asked for an explanation as to what GIR S.A. would do with the exchanged  AK47s. [See doc. No. 143, Annex V].


·         On May 15, 2000, Montealegre replied to Correa Guerrero’s letter, but directly to Contralor Arguello, giving the unit cost of the AK47s and the ammunition.  Montealegre did not say how GIR S.A. was to use the arms, but instead stated that the letter of intent established that the deal could only take place with the approval of the Minister of Gobernacion, the Contraloria, and once GIR S.A. produced an end-user certificate [See doc. No. 142, Annex V].


·         On or about May 18, 2000, Zoller traveled to Panama to conclude the sale of 2500 AK47s (later 3000) and 5 million rounds of ammunition to Shimon Yelinek.  Once the deal was concluded, Kissilevich (from Guatemala) sent Zoller a fax to his hotel room in Panama, with information on how Yelinek could send a wire transfer to GIR S.A.’s bank account (Westrust Bank Ltd, account 40692-9) [Interview with Zoller].  This was so that Yelinek could send GIR S.A. a down payment. [See doc. No. 141, Annex V].


·         On May 22, 2000, the Contraloría General issued a “Cédula de Notificación”, essentially a resolution, approving the Ministry of Gobernación request for an exception to the bid competition requirement for government purchases.  The Cédula mentioned that this exemption was being granted so that the Contract between the NNP and GIR S.A. could be formalized. [See doc. No. 140, Annex V].


The Cédula clearly stated that the appropriate government authorities must ensure that all necessary measures were taken to ensure that the exchange of arms was done in accordance with applicable international conventions and laws.  The Cédula also recommended that any final Contract on the exchange of arms should include a provision stating the Government of Israel’s agreement/approval.


On the same day, Kissilevich sent Shrem, in Panama, information on an aircraft that GIR S.A, had for sale. [See doc. No. 139, Annex V].


·         On May 31, 2000, Kissilevich sent Commissioner Montealegre a fax, requesting a copy of the contract to be signed between GIR S.A. and the NNP so that Zoller could review it prior to traveling to Nicaragua on June 1, 2000 (traveling to sign the contract).  Kissilevich attached two letters, one from Amiram Maor, Deputy Vice-President of marketing for of Israeli Military Industries, IMI, certifying that GIR S.A. was IMI’s sole representative for any agreement with the NNP; the other from Gabriel Bernstein, Director of Marketing for Latin America of IMI, detailing the warranty that comes with the IMI arms to be supplied by GIR S.A. [See doc. No. 138, Annex V].


·         On June 2, 2000, Montealegre, and Zoller, signed a Contract for the exchange of arms, “Contrato de Permuta de Armamento y Municiones”.  In respect of the Contraloría’s suggestion that certification be obtained from the Israeli Government, the Contract stated that it was not a Contract between two governments (Nicaragua and Israel) and therefore, it was not possible to obtain a certification from the Israeli Government.  The Contract was an exchange of 2.5 million 7.62 x 39 caliber bullets; 5000 AK47s assault rifles; and 6000 AK47 bayonets – in return for 465 9mm Jericho pistols and accessories, and 100 9mm mini-uzi machine pistols and accessories. [See doc. No. 137, Annex V].


§         On June 6, Zoller sent Shrem in Panama, information on military trucks for sale. [See doc. No. 135, Annex V].


§         On June 7, Zoller sent Shrem information on how to send a wire transfer to GIR S.A’s Westrust bank account number 010063264, sub account 40692-9 - through Barclay’s Bank in Miami Fl, explaining that the transfer that Shrem attempted to do one week before did not go through. [See doc. No. 136, Annex V].


§         On June 16, $74,972 was deposited in GIR S.A.’s account as a down-payment for the purchase of 2500 AK47s and 5 million rounds of ammunition by Yelinek. [See doc. No. 133, Annex V].


§         On September 20, 2000, Montealegre wrote to Zoller, explaining that the NNP had not received any of the 465 Jericho pistols stipulated in the contract – and he threatened to cancel the contract unless Zoller informed him when the pistols were to be delivered. [See doc. No. 129, Annex V].  On September 27, Kissilevich replied, explaining that they were doing their best to send the pistols. [See doc. No. 128, Annex V].  On September 29, Montealegre wrote back asking GIR S.A. to tell him when the pistols will be delivered – or he would cancel the contract. [See doc. No. 126, Annex V].  On October 2, 2000, Kissilevich wrote to Gabriel Bernstein, giving him the NNP address in Managua to which the Jericho pistols should be sent. [See doc. No. 125, Annex V].


§         On October 2, 2000, $50,000 was deposited by Yelinek in GIR S.A.’s bank account. [Interview with Zoller].


·         On January 2, 2001, Yelinek sent Zoller an e-mail, saying that “our friend in Africa” wants an urgent price quote on the following items, and whether he has them in stock: 600 AK47s; 200 rocket propelled grenade launchers (RPG7); 400 grenade launchers; 6 twin-barrel and 4 four-barrel anti-aircraft guns, 6000 hand-grenades and 50 anti-tank grenade launchers; plus attendant ammunition. [See doc. No. 123, Annex V].


·         On January 3, 2001, Yelinek sent another e-mail to Zoller – saying “This is the start price list that I send to my contact.  He already told me that it expensive.  I reply that if he take it all we will make discount for him.  Please check item no 3-7-8-11-14-15 [grenade launchers, anti-tank grenade launchers, 60 mm launchers, 2000 grenades, 200 anti-tank rockets, 800 60 mm rockets] if you have in stock and prices.  Please do not travel to your man before I will receive the green light that the money is ready in my contact’s hand and the end-user certificate is ready also.  Send me by e-mail of fax under what name – or to whom to need the paper”.   The same e-mail contains a forwarded e-mail from Yelinek to the person in Africa, identified only as Guy/Alfa, saying that  “the country in this area have (sic) everything in stock in good condition” and that “we can arrange as well the transport to your place”. [See doc. No. 122, Annex V].


·         On January 5, 2001, Eugenia de Leon, a secretary working at GIR S.A., sent a fax to General Calderon of the Nicaraguan Army, attaching a list of arms and ammunition, along with prices.  The list of arms and ammunition corresponded to the list of equipment requested in Yelinek’s e-mail of January 2, 2001. [See doc. No. 121, Annex V].


·         On January 12, 2001, Ibrahim Bah, received a handwritten list of arms and ammunition, with prices. [See doc. No. 120b, Annex V].


·         On January 16, 2001, GIR S.A. sent a fax to Yelinek at phone number 305-937-0806 in Miami, attaching a draft end-user certificate, addressed to Mr. Sergey Ladigin, Director de Departamento Regional de la America Latina de la Empresa Estatal Unitar Rosoboronexport. (“ROSOBORONEXPORT” Federal State Unitary Enterprise a specialized agency responsible for Russian arms export). [See doc. No. 120, Annex V].


·         On January 16, 2001, Yelinek sent a hand-written copy of the January 16, 2001 draft end-user certificate (above) to Ibrahim Bah.  [See doc. No. 120a, Annex V].


·         On February 1, 2001, Zoller sent Yelinek a fax, with the details of how to send a wire-transfer to GIR S.A.’s bank account (the Westrust Bank account). [See doc. No. 118, Annex V].


·         On February 9, 2001, Kissilevich sent Yelinek a fax, with the technical specifications of AK47 assault rifles and ammunition, and the details of how they were packed. [See doc. No. 117, Annex V].


·         On March 5, 2001, Zoller sent Yelinek a fax, with the details of how to send a wire-transfer to GIR S.A.’s bank account (the Westrust Bank account). [See doc. No. 114, Annex V].


·         On March 6, 2001, $100,000 was deposited in GIR S.A.’s bank account via wire transfer from Discount Bank and Trust Company, Geneva, Switzerland; through Citibank, New York. [See doc. No. 113, Annex V].


·         According to sworn statements given by Zoller, on May 10, 2001, [See doc. No. 2, Annex III], Yelinek met Zoller in Guatemala City, where he gave the former a purchase order from the Panamanian National Police, dated February 10, 2000. [See doc. No. 1, Annex IV].  The Order was for the purchase of 10,000 AK47s (AKM), 15 million rounds of ammunition, 1,000 machine guns (PKMS), 1,000 rocket propelled grenades (RPG7), 1000 Dragonov rifles, 10 million rounds of ammunition for PKMS, 10,000 RPG7 grenades, and 500 Jericho pistols”.  A fax from Zoller to the Hotel Quinta Real (where Zoller also had his offices) sent on May 15, asked the Hotel to send him the bill for Yelinek’s stay in the hotel. [See doc. No. 112, Annex V].


·         According to a statement made by Gustavo Leonardo Padilla Martinez (the lawyer for Trafalgar Martime Inc.) to the Panamanian National Police [Interview with Padilla], Miguel Onattopp Ferriz purchased the ship Otterloo from Holland in early July, 2001.


·         On July 2, 2001, Kissilevich sent Yelinek a fax, informing him of Zoller’s trip to Manauga, scheduled for July 4, 2001. [See doc. No. 110, Annex V].


·         On July 3, 2001, Kissilevich sent another fax to Yelinek, informing him that Zoller could not travel, and that he, Kissilevich, would travel to Managua on July 4, 2001, instead.  He also asked Yelinek for his arrival time in Manauga, so that he could pick him up at the airport. [See doc. No. 109, Annex V].


·         On July 3, 2001, $10,450 was deposited in GIR S.A.’s bank account. [Interview with Zoller].


·         On or about July 4, 2001, Kissilevich and Yelinek visited the NNP Armory, to inspect the AK47s.


·         On July 6, 2001, Kissilevich sent Yelinek a fax with the name and contact information of GIR S.A.’s shipping agent, who would be responsible for shipping the containers.  The agent was Leonel Cordon, Ave. 6-26 Zona 09. oficina 702, Guatemala Ciudad, 502-334-7070. [See doc. No. 108, Annex V].


·         On July 11, 2001, lawyer Gustavo Padilla filed papers to have Trafalgar Maritime Inc., established as a company in Panama.  Miguel Onattott (sic) Ferriz was stipulated as the President of the Company.  The company was legally established the same day. [See doc. No. 107a, Annex V].


·         On July 24, 2001, the Panamanian Ministerio de Hacienda y Tesoro, granted a Provisional Certificate of Navigation to the Otterloo. [See doc. No. 106, Annex V].


·         On September 6, 2001, Commissioner General Francisco Montealegre, retired as head of NNP – Francisco Bautista Lara became new Chief of Police.


·         On September 18, 2001, Zoller wrote to José Antonio López Dolmuz, Deputy Administrative Chief of the NNP, informing him that he authorized “cedo” the Nicaraguan Army to remove from the NNP’s warehouse, 2.5 M munitions, 5000 AK47s, and 6000 bayonets. [See doc. No. 103, Annex V].


·         On 26 September 2001, the Chief of the army’s Logistical branch, Col. Ramón Calderón Vindell, wrote to Melby González, the NNP’s Chief of General Administration, to inform her that he had assigned Lt. Col. Uriel Moreno Corea, Chief of the Military’s Technical Section, to receive the NNP’s 5000 AK47s.  He quoted Zoller’s September 18 note. [See doc. No. 102, Annex V].


Also on September 26, Zoller sent a fax to his shipping agent, Leonel Cordon, informing him that title to the containers to be used to export the NNP arms should be given to the Ministerio de Gobierno y Justicia, Policía Nacional, Republica de Panamá. [See doc. No. 101, Annex V].


·         On September 28, 2001, Kissilevich sent Yelinek a fax, providing him the serial numbers of the containers which were to be used to export the Nicaraguan arms. [See doc. No. 98, Annex V].


§         On the same day, Zoller sent Nicaraguan Army Major Alvaro Rivas, responsible for the logistical aspects of exporting the arms from Nicaragua, a fax in which he informed Major Rivas that the containers should not be loaded with more than 13 tons or 26,000 pounds. [See doc. No. 99, Annex V].


§         Also on September 28, Kissilevich sent General Calderon a fax, providing an accounting of a transaction in which the army sold to GIR S.A. 2.5 million rounds of AK47 ammunition worth $112,000, agreed to exchange the 5000 old NNP AK47s, for 3117 new AK47s for a fee of $20,000, and sold 300 ammunition-carrying vests worth $15,000 – in return for 500 bullet-proof vests and accessories from GIR S.A., valued at $185,620.  Kissilevich informed Calderon that the army owed GIR S.A. $68,120 for the balance of the transaction, and attached information on how to send a wire-transfer to GIR S.A.’s account. [See doc. No. 100, Annex V].


§         On October 1, 2001, (retransmitted on the 12th and 19th) – Kissilevich sent Commissioner Gonzalez a fax informing her that GIR S.A. was sending the NNP 100 Jericho pistols [See doc. No. 96, Annex V].  He added that in order to deliver the remaining 5 pistols (for a total of 465) he needed the NNP to send IMI an end-user certificate [See doc. No. 95, Annex V].  He sent the NNP a draft.


Also on October 1, Leonel Cordon informed Kissilevich by e-mail that 4 of the containers to be used to export the arms from Nicaragua had to be replaced.  He sent Kisslevich a new list of serial numbers for the containers that were to be used.  There were 12 containers. This information was then faxed to Yelinek. [See doc. No. 94, Annex V].


§         On October 2, 2001, Kissilevich sent Major Rivas the same fax that was sent to General Calderon on September 28.  He retransmitted the Fax on October 8. [See doc. No. 93, Annex V].


§         On October 9, 2001, Kissilevich sent Yelinek a fax with a price list for 10,000 uniforms and boots. [See doc. No. 90, Annex V].


·         On October 10, 2001, Col. Carlos Gilberto Chavarría Hernandez, Chief of Guatemala’s Military Industry, certified that 115 AK47s were to be purchased from GIR S.A. for the exclusive use of Guatemala’s Military Industry. [See doc. No. 89, Annex V].


§         On October 12, Major Rivas sent Zoller an e-mail, explaining that they were working towards October 18, and hence, needed the 12 trucks to carry the containers on the morning of October 17.  He added that it was imperative that he received the end-user certificate by the morning of October 15. [See doc. No. 86, Annex V].


§         On October 13, the Captain of the ship Otterloo, Jesus Fernando Iturrios Maciel, signed a ship manifest in the port of Veracruz, Mexico, stating that his ship was carrying 9 containers of plastic balls, and that he was sailing to Panama. [See doc. No. 85, Annex V].


·         On October 15, 2001, $99,775 was deposited in GIR S.A.’s bank account via wire transfer from a certain Kolel Shomrei Aahomot by way of the Mercantile Discount Bank Ltd, Tel Aviv, Israel. [See doc. No. 84, Annex V].


·         On October 16, 2001, $212,265 was deposited in GIR S.A.’s bank account via wire transfer from S.H and A. Diamonds Ltd, by way of Chase [bank] in New York. [See doc. No. 83, Annex V].


·         On October 17, 2001, Colonel Ramon Calderon Vindell and Commissioner Melby Gonzalez, by way of an Acta de Entrega – document the army handing-over 3,117 AK47s and 2.5 million bullets to the NNP. [See doc. No. 80, Annex V].  In another document, with the same date, Col. Calderon certified that the AK47s were made before 1986. [See doc. No. 81, Annex V].


·         On the same day, GIR S.A. sent a Fedex package to Major Rivas, apparently containing the end-user certificate, which took the form of an alleged Panamanian National Police Purchase Order, dated February 10, 2000. [See doc. No. 82, Annex V].


·         On October 18, 2001, Kissilevich sent Yelinek an e-mail, attaching an account balance, which showed that Yelinek owed GIR S.A. approximately $25,000. [See doc. No. 79, Annex V].


·         Also on October 18, 2001, the Nicaraguan Army wire transferred $68,120 to GIR S.A.’s bank account in Miami [See doc. No. 78, Annex V] – this was the amount owned on the side-deal for the bullet-proof vests and the commission for exchanging the arms with the NNP.


·         On October 19, 2001, GIR S.A. forwarded a note from Yelinek to their shipping agent, Leonel Cordon.  The note from Yelinek contained the name of the ship (Otterloo), and the company name (Trafalgar Maritime Inc), also identifying the company’s legal representative as a certain Captain Onattopp Ferriz. [See doc. No. 76, Annex V].


·         Also on October 19, Major Rivas sent an e-mail to Kissilevich in which he asked for (1) a new end-user certificate for the AK47s which were going to the Guatemalan Army, and the end-user certificate he had was only for 115 guns, and 117 were to be shipped; (2) the name of the port of embarkation and the port where the “large package” was to be unloaded; and, (3) similar information for the bayonets. [See doc. No. 77, Annex V].


GIR S.A. apparently replied that only 115 guns were going to Guatemala, and therefore the end-user certificate that the army had would serve; and they also provided the address for Century Arms. [See doc. No. 77, Annex V].


In relation to the “large package”  GIR S.A. informed that the address was Captain Onatto Frizz [stet – Miguel Onattopp Ferriz] P.O. box 873276, Zona 7, Panama, Republica de Panamá. [See doc. No. 77, Annex V].


·         On October 22, 2001, First Commissioner Edwin Cordero Ardilla, notified the Contraloría General (acting Contralor, Francisco Ramírez Torres), of a quantitative change in the arrangement with GIRSA.  He informed that 3,117 AK47s instead of 5,000 AK47s and 5 million rounds of ammunition, instead of 2.5 million rounds were to be exchanged.  He further explained that the change was necessary as the original 5,000 guns did not meet GIR S.A.’s technical requirements, and therefore an exchange with the army would solve the problem.  He further informed that the corresponding inventories kept by Bienes del Estado, were to reflect the exchange. [See doc. No. 75, Annex V].


·         On October 24, 2001, General Commissioner Francisco Bautista Lara, wrote to the Minister of Finance, Esteban Duque Estrada, requesting that the paper inventory of arms of the NNP be adjusted to reflect the receipt, from the army, of 3,117 AK47s, and then the exchange of those arms, under the GIR S.A. contract.  Changes were also made to stocks of munitions and bayonets. [See doc. No. 72, Annex V].


·         On October 25, 2001, the Director of Government Accounting, of the Ministerio de Hacienda y Crédito Público, Luis Bravo Henriquez, certified that the corresponding changes in the paper inventories of the Ministry had been made. He then wrote 3 separate letters, all dated October 25, 2001, informing Commissioner Bautista Lara, of the changes to the inventories. [See doc. No. 67, Annex V].


·         On October 25, 2001, the new Minister of Gobernación, Ing. José Marenco Cardenal, wrote to Jorge Molina Lacayo, the Director of the Centro de Trámites de Exportación del Estado de Nicaragua (CETREX), copied to new National Police Commissioner, Edwin Cordero Ardilla, and requested that he take the necessary steps to export the arms and munitions; [See doc. No. 68, Annex V].


The Minister also wrote directly to Commissioner Cordero to inform him that he had authorized the export of the arms. [See doc. No. 69, Annex V].


·         On October 26, 2001, Otterloo arrived in El Rama, Nicaragua. [See doc. No. 63, Annex V].


·         On October 30, 2001, Brian Sucher, Executive VP of Century Arms, certified his company’s importation of the Bayonets into the United States. [See doc. No. 61, Annex V].


§         Also that day, Nicaraguan Army Major Ramiro Martinez Rivera left Managua, leading a convoy of trucks from Managua to the port of El Rama, where it arrived the next day, October 31. [See doc. No. 50, Annex V].


·         On October 31, 2001, Acting Contralor, Francisco Ramírez Torres, replied to Commissioner Bautista Lara, informing the latter that the NNP could make purchases of items for exclusive police work “sin ajustarse a los procedimientos ordinarios de la Ley”. Ramírez Torres informed the Commissioner that he must, however, send a copy of the contract to the Contraloría, within 10 days of its signature, “para su debida fiscalización”. [See doc. No. 57, Annex V].


§         On November 1, 2001, the Agencia Aduanera Canales Aguilar filled-out an export form, documenting the export of 115 AK47s from the Managua airport to the Ministry of National Defense in Guatemala. [See doc. No. 54, Annex V].


·         On November 2, 2001, following a delay of two days, the 14 containers (Note: there were 14 containers: 10 containers with ammunition, 4 with AK47 assault rifles) were loaded by Agencia Vassali onto the Otterloo.  The Otterloo first had to unload 9 containers (allegedly containing plastic balls) it had on its deck, loaded the 14 arms containers into its hold, then re-loaded the 9 containers on its deck. [See doc. No. 6, Annex V].


·         Also on November 2, 2001, a CETREX Export Form was filled-out by Agencia Canales Aguilar, and it documented the export of arms and ammunition to the Panamanian National Police, at the port of Colon, Panama. [See doc. No. 53, Annex V]. A Nicaraguan custom form similarly documented the shipment to the PNP. [See doc. No. 53, Annex V].


Two other documents were also filled-out - the Otterloo’s ship manifest (on Agencia Vassalli stationary) [See doc. No. 53, Annex V] and a Bill of Lading, [See doc. No. 53, Annex V], both dated November 2, 2001.  They also documented the arms and ammunition, including the serial numbers of the containers that contain the goods).  The manifest and the Bill of Lading were certified by the Otterloo’s Captain (Master), Jesus Iturrios Maciel, and indicated that the final destination was the Panamanian National Police.


·         On November 3, 2001, the Captain of the Otterloo, Iturrios Maciel, signed an Acta de Salida, a form from the Nicaraguan Ministerio de Gobernacion, indicating his imminent departure to the port of Colón, Panama. [See doc. No. 52, Annex V]  The Nicaraguan Navy documented the Ottlerloo sailing out of the port of El Bluff, with the declared destination being the port of Colón, Panama. [See doc. No. 52, Annex V].


·         On November 5, 2001, the Otterloo arrived at the port of Turbo, as documented by a form of the Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad, Seccional Antioquia, Puesto Operativco Turbo, which was signed by the Captain of the Otterloo, as well as by a Colombian customs official. [See doc. No. 51, Annex V].  On November 7, the shipment of arms and ammunition was unloaded by a shipping company called Banadex S.A., at the request of a the shipping agent Turbana Ltd, and the AUC took possession of the weaponry [see doc. 14a, Annex V].  The Otterloo then sailed for Baranquilla on November 9. [See docs. Nos. 51 and 25, Annex V].


·         On November 9, 2001, GIR S.A. sent Yelinek a fax outlining the entire transaction on the sale of equipment and related shipping costs, and detailing payments received from Yelinek.  The entire cost of the operation amounted to $603,805, of which GIR S.A. had received $547,642 from Yelinek - GIR S.A. was owed $ 56,343. [See doc. No. 45, Annex V].


·         Also on November 9, the Agencia Aduanera Canales Aguilar completed the required export documents for exporting 9000 AK47 bayonets to Century Arms in Miami, by way of Puerto Cortes, Honduras. [See doc. No. 46, Annex V].


§         On November 21, Ori Zoller sent a fax to the Nicaraguan Army (tel: 505-228-7605), explaining that the Panamanian National Police wished to purchase a second consignment of arms and ammunition:  17 million rounds of ammunition of two different types, along with 5000 AK47s.  Zoller outlined how payment was to be made for the purchase of such equipment, and he attached the February 10, 2000 purchase order which he characterized as “debidamente firmada y sellada por el Ministerio de Gobierno y Justicia, Policia Nacional de Panamá”. [See doc. No. 42, Annex V].


·         On December 4, 2001, Zoller’s bank account received two wire transfers.  The first, for $6,475, from a certain Stein Svi, by way of the Mercantile Discount Bank Ltd, Tel Aviv, Israel [See doc. No. 40, Annex V]; the second, for $49,568 from a certain Chaim Mann, by way of the First International Bank of Israel, Ltd. Tel Aviv, Israel. [See doc. No. 41, Annex V].


·         On December 13, 2001, the Otterloo returned to Puerto Colón, Panama, after having traveled from Baranquilla, Colombia (on November 9), to ports in Venezuela and Suriname. [See doc. No. 25, Annex V].


·         On December 14, 2001, GIR S.A. sent a fax to Yelinek in which the prices were shown for a list of military hardware, which included 5000 AK47s, 10 million rounds of ammunition, 100 PKMS machine guns, 50 rocket propelled grenades RPG7, and 1000 grenades for RPG7. [See doc. No. 39, Annex V].


·         On January 2, 2002, GIR S.A. sent Yelinek a fax, providing pricing for the purchase of 24 containers, and transportation and customs costs. [See doc. No. 38, Annex V]


·         On January 3, 2002, Kissilevich sent a fax to his shipping agent, Leonel Cordon, giving him the address to which the containers should be sent (Comando de Apoyo Logístico, in Managua), and the contact person, Major Rivas of the Nicaraguan Army. [See doc. No. 34, Annex V].


·         Also on January 3, 2002, Kissilevich apparently sent Major Rivas a copy of the Panamanian purchase order, describing it as the “Certificado de Usuario Final correspondiente a la mercaderia solicitada”. [See doc. No. 37, Annex V].


·         On January 8, 2002, Kissilevich sent a fax to Major Rivas, explaining that he was sending him a list of serial numbers for “ten more containers”. [See doc. No. 32, Annex V].


·         On January 11, 2002, the Jefe de la Dirección de Financias del Ejercito de Nicaragua, Coronel Miguel Guzman Bolaños, issued a bill for $980,000, addressed to the Panamanian National Police, but sent only to Zoller, for 17 million rounds of ammunition, and 5000 AK47s. [See doc. No. 31, Annex V].


·         On January 16, 2002, $50,000 was wire-transferred to GIR S.A.’s Westrust Bank account from a Bank in Israel. [See doc. No. 29, Annex V].


·         On January 23, Julio Solis, of Agencia Vassali in Nicaragua, sent an e-mail to GIR S.A.’s shipping agent in Guatemala, Leonel Cordon, informing him that 23 containers were available for immediate purchase. [See doc. No. 28, Annex V].


·         On January 30, 2002, Ovidio Escudero, Chief of Naval Intelligence of the Panamanian Navy, sent a fax to Captain Manuel S. Mora Ortiz of the Nicaraguan Navy, asking him for any information he may have regarding the ship Otterloo.  Escudero added that the Ship was suspected of transporting armament to the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). [See doc. No. 27, Annex V].


The next day, Mora replied to Escudero, explaining that the Otterloo had sailed from Nicaragua on November 2, 2001, loaded with 3000 AK47s and 5 million bullet, which had been sent to the Panamanian National Police. [See doc. No. 26, Annex V].


§         On February 6, 2002, el Teniente Coronel, Wilson Laverde, Jefe de la Unidad Antiterrorista de la Policía Nacional de Colombia; Elmer E. Acuña del Consejo de Seguridad Publica y Defensa Nacional de Panamá; el Mayor Francisco León Rodríguez, Jefe del Departamento de Contra Inteligencia del Ejercito de Nicaragua, y el Sub-Comisionado Arnulfo Escobar, de la Policía Nacional de Panamá, signed a document called “Propuesta de Trabajo para el Desarrollo de la Operación Triangulo”. [See doc. No. 24, Annex V].


§         On February 15, 2002, GIR S.A. sent a fax to Julio Solis, informing him that they no longer wanted the 23 containers that were for sale.  GIR S.A. sent a copy of this fax to their shipping agent, Leonel Cordón. [See doc. No. 22, Annex V].


§         On March 5, 2002 during a meeting of Chiefs of Police in Bolivia, Carlos Barés, Chief of the Panamanian National Police, asked Edwin Cordero, by then the Chief of the Nicaraguan National Police, for an explanation regarding the export of Nicaraguan arms, allegedly to Panama.  Cordero later testified that up until March 5, he had no knowledge of Operacion Triangulo, nor that the Nicaraguan arms had been diverted to Colombia. [Interview with Cordero].


§         On March 8, 2002, Barés and Cordero met in Panama to review the facts of the case. [Interviews with Cordero and Barés].


§         On March 19, 2002, Shimon Yelinek sent Ori Zoller an e-mail, saying “I am sorry for the delay, I am doing my best to comply, I have some delay, on Friday, I will call you.  Try to hold the pressure”. [See doc. No. 20, Annex V].


§         On April 21, 2002, the Colombian newspaper, “El Tiempo” published a story regarding the diversion of the Nicaraguan Arms.


§         April 30, 2002, Trafalgar Maritime Inc.’s Office closed permanently for business, and they gave up their office lease on May 1, 2002. [See doc. No. 13, Annex III].


§         On May 8, 2002, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Nicaragua and Panama, requested that the OAS conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the arms diversion. [See doc. No. 17, Annex V].


§         On June 14, 2002, the Otterloo was sold to Enrique Aaron Villalba, Colombian citizen, by Julio Matute, Panamanian citizen, and at this point the legal representative of Trafalgar Maritime Inc.  The ship was sold for $125,000, of which only $100,000 changed hands. [See doc. No. 11, Annex III].


·         On June 28, 2002, Trafalgar Maritime Inc., was formally dissolved by the lawyer Gustavo Padilla. [See doc. No. 11a, Annex V].




List of All Actors










Canales Aguilar Compañía Limitada (ACAL) – Customs agency in the name of Augusto Canales Meléndez.


Acuña, Elmer E.

Council for the Public Security and National Defense of Panama.  Signatory of the document “Operación Triángulo”.


Aguilar, Carlos

Panamanian citizen.  Second Officer of the merchant ship Otterloo. Later became its Captain.


Argűello Poessy, Guillermo

President of the Superior Council, Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic of Nicaragua (Consejo Superior de la Contraloría General de la República de Nicaragua).


Aviad, Haviv

Brother in law, and business associate of Shimon Yelinek.


Bah, Ibrahim

Principal provider of arms and diamond dealer for the United Revolutionary Front (RUF) of Sierra Leone.


Banadex S.A.

Colombian shipping company that unloaded the Otterloo’s containers in Turbo, Colombia.



Bautista Lara, Francisco

Deputy Chief of the Nicaraguan National Police.


Barés, Carlos

Chief, National Police of Panama.


Bello, Pedro 

President, "Armamentos Inc.," a firearms sales company in West Palm Beach, FL, USA.


Berenstein, Gabriel

Marketing Manager, Israeli Military Industries, Ltd. (IMI).


Bravo Henríquez, Luis

Director General, Government Accounting Department, Ministry of the Treasury and Public Credit.


Calderón Vindell, Col. Ramón

Chief, Logistics Department, Nicaraguan Army.


Calderón, General Roberto

Inspector General of the Nicaraguan Army.


Canales, Augusto

Owner of ACAL, legal representative of the Nicaraguan National Police during firearms exports customs procedures.



Carrión, General

Commander-in-Chief, Nicaraguan Army.


Cordero Ardilla, Edwin

First Commissioner, Director General, Nicaraguan National Police, as of September 2001.


Cordón, Leonel

Owner of Tramocaribe (Guatemala), the shipping company contracted by GIR S.A. to coordinate transportation of the arms.


Correa Guerrero, Heriberto

Deputy Director General, State Procurement and Tenders of Nicaragua.


Chavaría Hernández, Col. Carlos Gilberto

Head, Guatemalan Military Industries, which purchased 115 AK-47 from GIR S.A.


de León, Eugenia

Secretary, GIR S.A.


Díaz Lazo, Melba

Nicaraguan customs agent.


Duque Estrada, Esteban

Minister of the Treasury and Public Credit.


Escobar, Arnulfo

Deputy Chief of Police, National Police of Panama. Signatory of the Operación Triángulo document.


Escudero, Ovidio


Chief, Department of Naval Intelligence, Ministry of the Interior and Justice of Panama.


Ferriz, Miguel Onattopp

Manager/Owner, Trafalgar Maritime International Inc.,  the company under whose name the Otterloo was registered.


Gehri, Haim

Former IMI trader in Colombia.  Is now a consultant for Century International Arms in Miami.



Grupo Representaciones Internacionales, S.A., firearms

sales Company.  Address: Prolongación Boulevard, Los

Próceres, Zona 15, Kilómetro 9, Carretera a El Salvador,

Área Comercial Hotel Quinta Real.


González, Melby

Chief, General Administration Division, Nicaraguan National Police.


Guzmán Bolaños, Miguel

Chief, Finance Department, Nicaraguan Army.


Herrera Zúñiga, René

Minister of Government of Nicaragua until September 30, 2000.


Iturrios Macial, Jesús

Captain/Master of the Otterloo.


Jiménez, Jaime

General Manager, Transportes Intermodal, a company contracted to transport the arms from Managua to Puerto El Rama.


Kissilevich, Uzi

General Manager of GIR S.A.


Ladigin, Sergey

Director, Latin American Regional Department, Federal State Unitary Enterprise “Rosoboronexport,” a specialized agency handling Russian firearms exports.


Laverde, Wilson (Lt. Colonel)

Chief, Anti-terrorist Unit, National Police of Colombia.


López Dolmuz, José Antonio

Deputy Administrative Chief, Nicaraguan National Police.


Maor, Amiram

Deputy Vice President and Marketing Director for Latin America, Military Industries of Israel, Ltd. (IMI).


Marenco Cardenal, José

Minister of Government of Nicaragua from October 1, 2000 until the change of government (January 10, 2002).


Martínez Rivera, Ramiro

First Officer, Military Technical Office of Nicaragua, responsible for accompanying the firearms from Managua to Puerto del Rama.


Molina Lacayo, Jorge

Director, Exports Processing Center (CETREX).


Montealegre Callejas, Francisco (Franco)

First Commissioner, Chief of Nicaraguan National Police until September, 2001.



Mora Ortiz, Captain Manuel S.

Naval Forces of Nicaragua.


Moreno Corea, Lieutenant Colonel Uriel

Chief, Military Technical Office.


Muñoz Morales, Luis

Chief, General Administration Division, Nicaraguan National Police.


Osailly, Samih

Lebanese arms dealer who works for Ibrahim Bah.


Padilla Martínez, Gustavo Leonardo

Attorney who established the company Trafalgar Maritime International, Inc.


Ramírez Torres, Francisco

Acting President and later President of the Superior Council, Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic of Nicaragua.


Rivas Castillo, Álvaro (Major)

General Roberto Calderón's Assistant (Aide de Camp).


Rodríguez, Francisco León (Major)

Chief, Department of Counterintelligence, Nicaraguan Army.


Rojas Arrollo, Santiago

National Taxation and Customs Department (DIAN), Colombia.


Shrem, Marcos

Peruvian businessman, resident in Panama, associate of Shimon Yelinek.


Solís, Julio

Employee of Agencia Vassali, a Nicaraguan transportation and shipping company.


Sucher, Brian

Vice President, Century Arms.


Trafalgar Maritime Inc.

Transportation company under whose name the ship Otterloo was registered.


Vasalli S.A., Agencia "AVASA"

Agencia Vassalli, S.A. "AVASA" loaded the firearms onto the Otterloo in Puerto del Rama, Nicaragua.


Shimon Yelinek

Israeli businessman resident in Panama.  Allegedly bought Nicaraguan firearms and ammunition.


 Zoller, Ori

Owner of GIR S.A., a firearms sales company with headquarters in Guatemala.





























[1] It should be noted that this recommendation and others referring to the exchange of information among countries is subject to the confidentiality provisions set out in Article XII of the Convention.     

[2] Ambassador Busby led an OAS Investigative Team composed of Christopher Hernández-Roy, Advisor to the Assistant Secretary General, serving as Ambassador Busby's Deputy; Michael Sullivan, Principal Attorney of the Department of Legal Affairs; Jimena Duque, Security Specialist, Office of the Assistant Secretary General; Sergio Caramagna, Director of the Office of the General Secretariat in Nicaragua; and Hernan Hurtado, Director of the Office of the General Secretariat in Panama.

[3] Yelinek, in a affidavit sworn on July 1, 2002, before a notary public in Tel Aviv, Israel, denies that he concluded any business dealings with Zoller (see document No. 1 in Annex III).  However, the Investigative Team has concrete documentation which shows this is untrue.


[4] The Investigative Team is satisfied that the alleged Panamanian Purchase Order is a forgery.  The document seems to have been created from a true blank purchase order form, but the signatures on the document have apparently been forged, and there are other irregularities as well.  See Annex IV for information and analysis on the alleged purchase order, provided by the Government of Panama.

[5] The army is responsible for Nicaraguan intelligence.

[6] General references to legal measures applying to the terms “import” and “export” in relation to firearms throughout this report are also intended to apply, as appropriate, to in-transit movements through countries. Transit has not been referred to expressly, because the case did not have an in-transit component. 

[7] Sierra Leone is under a United Nations arms embargo.  Samih Osailly has been arrested by Belgian authorities and remained in custody at the time this report was published.  In addition to alleged ties to Al-Queda, he is suspected of connections to the bombings of US Embassies in east Africa.