Firm Profile > Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega > Panama, Panama

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega
PO BOX 0816-01098, PANAMA

Banking and finance Tier 1

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega's market-leading practice covers complex banking regulation, cross-border loans (particularly from foreign financial institutions in favour of Panamanian banks), and the financing of M&A in the financial services sector, both in Panama and in the Central American region. The team's extensive client roster includes many of the largest domestic banks, and it also acts for numerous major international financial institutions. The firm's membership of the Lex Mundi, Interlaw and Pacific Rim Advisory Council networks gives it additional international reach, and several members of the team are admitted to practise in New York and Florida. Practice head Estif Aparicio is particularly noted for his strength in project finance, while Ricardo Arango has significant expertise in regulatory matters. Other notable team members include Roy Durling and Rodrigo Cardoze and, at junior level, international senior associate Cedric Kinshots, who has particular project finance expertise, and senior associate Fernando Arias F.

Practice head(s):

Estif Aparicio

Key clients

Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior (Bladex)

Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI)


Bank of Nova Scotia, Scotiabank

Citibank / Citigroup Global Markets

Banco General

Global Bank

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

JPMorgan Chase

Capital markets Tier 1

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega stands out for its extensive experience in advising on IPOs, both locally and on the New York Stock Exchange. In addition, the team regularly advises on international Rule 144A/Regulation S bond offerings, including by the Republic of Panama, as well as securitisations and regulatory matters; in a recent highlight, the firm advised the underwriters on the first emerging market sovereign bond issuance since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. The team is led by Ricardo Arango, who is experienced in both debt and equity capital markets transactions. Among the other notable members of the team are Estif Aparicio, who has particular expertise in offerings on the NYSE, and international senior associates Cedric Kinshots and Donald Canavaggio.

Practice head(s):

Ricardo Arango

Key clients

Citibank / Citigroup Global Markets

Banco General

Global Bank

Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior (Bladex)

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

JPMorgan Securities

Credit Suisse Securities (USA)

Deutsche Bank

Bank of Nova Scotia, Scotiabank

Corporate and M&A Tier 1

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega is highly experienced in both domestic and cross-border transactions, with several of its lawyers also admitted to practise in New York and Florida. Recently, the team has been particularly active in high-value M&A involving Latin America companies consolidating their positions in the region, in addition to transactions in the banking sector and restructurings resulting from the pandemic. It acts for public and private companies, local corporations and the Panamanian subsidiaries of foreign businesses. Ricardo Arango leads the firm's M&A practice, while Roy Durling heads the business and corporate law group. Among the other key contacts in the team, Estif Aparicio, Andrés Rubinoff and Rodrigo Cardoze all have extensive experience in local and international M&A. Senior associates Fernando Arias F and Javier Yap Endera are also names to note.

Practice head(s):

Ricardo Arango; Roy Durling

Key clients


MHC Holdings

United Airlines

La Hipotecaria

Caribbean Property Group


Inversiones Bahia

Transport: Shipping Tier 1

The 'responsive and knowledgeable' team at Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega has extensive experience in shipping finance, acting for a number of international financial institutions and shipping companies. In addition, the firm advises on a high volume of vessel registrations under the Panamanian flag with the Panama Maritime Authority and assists clients with obtaining port operating licences. Maritime litigation is also an area of strength, with the team handling disputes before the Panamanian and international maritime courts. Jorge Loaiza heads the shipping and transportation group, and Pilar Castillo is also noted for her shipping finance expertise.

Practice head(s):

Jorge Loaiza


‘I have used ARIFA as Panamanian counsel on ship finance matters for several years. They are responsive and knowledgeable and also have competitive fees.’

‘Pilar Castillo is responsive and knowledgeable in relation to ship finance matters.’

Dispute resolution Tier 2

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega has significant expertise in multi-jurisdictional disputes; the team frequently foreign companies in litigation and arbitration proceedings in Panama, and is particularly active in international commercial arbitrations against the Republic of Panama. The firm is experienced in a wide range of cases, including commercial disputes, administrative proceedings (including regulatory claims), admiralty cases, and labour and tax litigation, and has seen an increasing amount of work acting for debtors and creditors in insolvency litigation. Fernando Arias, who is well versed in civil, commercial, tax and administrative disputes, particularly involving Panamanian corporations, leads the team with Claudio De Castro, who focuses his practice on multi-jurisdictional disputes. Sofía Cohen, who leads the firm's regulatory work group, is also a key contact.

Practice head(s):

Fernando Arias; Claudio De Castro

Key clients

McDermott International


Chevron Chemical Company

Offshore Tier 2

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega advises on the formation and operation of trusts and foundations and tax planning matters, as well as providing assistance with corporate issues through its affiliate Arifa Corporate Services. With associated offices in London, Hong Kong, the British Virgin Islands, Belize and Uruguay, it is able to advise on a wide range of international matters. Gian Castillero heads the estates and private client group, focusing on estate planning, the management of family offices and international tax planning. Rosa Restrepo assists institutional and private clients with tax, estate planning and corporate structuring. Of counsel LeRoy Watson III is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Gian Castillero

Projects and energy Tier 2

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega has a wide range of experience in projects and energy matters, advising on government contracts and concessions for ports, telecoms and energy projects, as well as the financing of major infrastructure projects. The team also has considerable strength in the mining, oil and gas sectors, and in corporate transactions and regulatory matters in the energy sector. The team is led by Estif Aparicio, who has expertise in the financing of major public infrastructure projects; Ricardo Arango, who specialises in financial and capital markets transactions; Rosa Restrepo, the head of the government contracts practice; and regulatory practice head Sofía Cohen.

Practice head(s):

Ricardo Arango; Estif Aparicio; Rosa Restrepo; Sofía Cohen

Real estate Tier 2

The experienced María Carolina Arroyo leads the real estate team at Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega, which has considerable expertise in real estate joint ventures, zoning and environmental regulations, land purchase, construction and development agreements, and real estate finance transactions. Clients include leading real estate owners and developers, hotel and shopping centre operators, construction companies, and financial institutions. Senior associate Vivian Holness is also a key contact.

Practice head(s):

María Carolina Arroyo

Intellectual property Tier 3

Rosa Restrepo leads the team at Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega, which advises on the registration of trade marks and other IP rights in Panama, the rest of Latin America and around the world. The firm also assist with copyright matters, IP infringement and licensing issues. Associate Melissa del Busto is another key contact.

Practice head(s):

Rosa Restrepo

ARIFA, in the forefront of Panama’s legal industry since 1914, offers full-service advice to international financial institutions, multinationals and some of Panama’s largest domestic companies. Long recognized for structuring innovative solutions in M&A, capital market and financing transactions, ARIFA also has a strong offshore practice. The firm’s lawyers, many educated in top law schools in the US and Europe or trained at New York law firms, are the backbone of the firm’s success.

Main areas of practice
Capital markets and banking: ARIFA is widely recognized for its innovation in bank finance, pioneering many financial structures in Panama regularly used today. The firm is also acclaimed for its expertise in structuring cross-border transactions, securitizations and domestic IPOs. Notably, ARIFA-led Panamanian IPOs are listed on the NYSE.

Mergers and acquisitions: ARIFA is one of Panama’s M&A leaders, both by deal volume and number of deals. The firm is sought after for acquisitions in Panama and the Central America region, especially those deals with high degrees of difficulty.

Projects and government concessions: ARIFA assists leading multinationals and domestic companies in their dealings with the government of Panama, providing counsel in sectors such as port operations; petroleum storage, transportation and refining; telecommunications; power generation and distribution; toll-roads; mining; and other public works.

Offshore services: ARIFA, with a network of fully integrated offices in Panama, London, Luxembourg, Geneva, Hong Kong, BVI, Belize and Uruguay, is a leading offshore business brand. ARIFA has more than 50 years of experience providing offshore solutions to thousands of companies around the world under its administration. Services include company formation, management services, and trust and estate planning foundation services, among many others.

Real estate: ARIFA covers the spectrum of real estate activities, drafting joint ventures, land purchases, construction and lease agreements. The firm guides clients through complex regulatory issues in hotel, casino, zoning, environmental, construction and property law, allowing them to proceed with confidence.

Shipping: ARIFA facilitates vessel registration and financing for clients around the world through a proprietary network of offices in London, Hong Kong and Panama. A premier firm for ship financing in Panama, ARIFA is also Panama’s leader for platform financing. ARIFA has a growing interdisciplinary maritime litigation practice for clients’ shipping-related disputes.

Intellectual property: ARIFA offers clients a full range of intellectual property (IP) legal services. The firm also uses a well-established network of IP corresponding firms to co-ordinate trademark and other IP rights registrations around the world, particularly in Latin America.

Department Name Email Telephone
Capital markets and banking; and M&A and corporations Ricardo M Arango
Commercial and real estate María C Arroyo
Corporate services; and estates and private clients Fernando A Arias
Corporate services; and estates and private clients Gian Castillero
Regulatory work Sofía J Cohen
Government contracts and permits Rosa Restrepo
Intellectual property Carol Durling
Labor and migration María del Carmen Zúñiga
Labor and migration Vivian Holness
Litigation and arbitration Fernando A Arias
Litigation and arbitration Octavio Amat
Shipping Jorge Loaiza III
E: [first initial][surname]
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr Federico Alfaro  photo Mr Federico Alfaro Mr. Alfaro has been an associate of the firm since 2007. He…
Mr Octavio Amat  photo Mr Octavio Amat Mr. Amat is a retired partner and serves as Of Counsel to…
Mr Estif Aparicio  photo Mr Estif Aparicio Mr. Aparicio is a real specialist in banking and financial transactions. His…
Mr Ricardo M Arango  photo Mr Ricardo M Arango Mr. Arango is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. He is…
 María Carolina Arroyo  photo María Carolina Arroyo Ms. Arroyo is Head of the firm’s Commercial and Real Estate Practice…
Mr Rodrigo Cardoze  photo Mr Rodrigo Cardoze Mr. Cardoze is a member of ARIFA’s Executive Committee.
Mr Gian Castillero  photo Mr Gian Castillero Mr. Castillero is Head of ARIFA’s estate and private clients group and…
 Sofía J. Cohen  photo Sofía J. Cohen Ms. Cohen is Head of the firm’s Regulatory Work Group.
Mr Juan F. Corro  photo Mr Juan F. Corro Juan F. Corro joined the firm in 1990 and became a partner…
Mr Claudio De Castro  photo Mr Claudio De Castro Claudio De Castro joined the firm in 2011 and became a partner…
Ms Carol Durling  photo Ms Carol Durling She is Head of the firm’s Intellectual Property Practice Group, and a…
Mr Roy C Durling  photo Mr Roy C Durling Mr. Durling is a member of ARIFA’s Executive Committee and Head of…
Ms Vivian D. Holness  photo Ms Vivian D. Holness Ms. Holness has been an associate of the firm since 2006.
Mr Jorge Loaiza photo Mr Jorge Loaiza Mr. Loaiza is Head of the firm’s Shipping and Transportation Group and…
Ms Rosa Restrepo photo Ms Rosa Restrepo Ms. Restrepo heads ARIFA’s Government Contracts and Permits Group. She is a…
Mr Andres N. Rubinoff  photo Mr Andres N. Rubinoff Andrés N. Rubinoff joined the firm since 2009 and became partner in…
Mr LeRoy W. Watson  photo Mr LeRoy W. Watson Mr. Watson is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee.
 María del C. Zúñiga  photo María del C. Zúñiga Ms. Zuñiga is a senior partner member of the firm’s Executive Committee…
Mr Eduardo de Alba  photo Mr Eduardo de Alba Mr. de Alba is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee.
Other fee-earners : 28
Total staff : 150+
Partners : 15