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

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

Banking and finance Tier 1

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega has a strong client base of leading local and international financial institutions, which benefit from the firm's vast experience in lender-side work. Of particular note is the firm's expertise in cross-border loans to Panamanian borrowers and in the financing of M&A transactions in Panama and the rest of Central America. The team also frequently advises on the financing of infrastructure and energy projects, and has additional expertise in the aviation and telecoms sectors. Estif Aparicio, who was promoted to practice head in January 2020, is noted for his strength in complex project financings and cross-border transactions. Ricardo Arango and senior associates Cedric Kinschots and Fernando Arias are also key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior, S.A. (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 acts on both debt and equity capital markets transactions, where its clients include leading domestic and international banks and financial institutions. The team is noted for its expertise in IPOs, regularly advising Panamanian companies on the listing of shares on the New York Stock Exchange. It also has experience advising on international bond offerings by the Republic of Panama, Rule 144A/Reg S offerings and securities regulation. The team is jointly led by the highly regarded Ricardo Arango and Estif Aparicio, who has extensive experience in securities regulation. Senior associates Cedric Kinshots and Donald Canavaggio, who both have expertise in international matters, are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Key clients


Citigroup Global Markets

Banco General S.A.

Global Bank

Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior, S.A. (Bladex)

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

JPMorgan Securities Inc.

Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC

Deutsche Bank

Bank of Nova Scotia, Scotiabank

Corporate and M&A Tier 1

Among the leading firms in Panama, Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega is regularly involved in large-scale M&A transactions in the country, and also stands out for its work on numerous acquisitions in the financial services sector. The team also has experience assisting with private equity transactions. Practice head Ricardo Arango has expertise in complex, cross-border matters, and in advising on stock purchase agreements, asset purchase agreements and mergers. Other key names include Andrés Rubinoff, who has recently been active in major local and regional M&A; Rodrigo Cardoze, who has experience in joint ventures and multi-jurisdictional M&A; and associate Javier Yap Endera, who handles corporate transactions involving regulated entities.

Practice head(s):

Key clients


MHC Holdings

United Airlines, Inc.

La Hipotecaria

Caribbean Property Group, LLC


Inversiones Bahia, Ltd.

Shipping Tier 1

With a strong international client base that includes shipping companies, financial institutions and port operators, Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega is experienced in the full range of contentious and non-contentious shipping matters. The team has particular expertise in cross-border ship financing, refinancing and restructuring, often drawing on the full-service firm's corporate, insolvency and tax practices. It is also highly active in the registration of vessels under the Panamanian flag - particularly mobile offshore drilling units - and obtaining port operation licences. On the contentious side, the team handles cross-border shipping litigation in the Panamanian and international maritime courts, and also has arbitration expertise. Highly regarded practice head Jorge Loaiza specialises in maritime litigation, while Pilar Castillo focuses on ship financing.

Practice head(s):


‘Pilar Castillo is very efficient.’

Key clients

Seadrill Limited

Macquarie Bank

Mojasa A/S

Seajacks UK Limited

Trafigura Beheer BV – Colombia


Grupo Mexico

Schahin Engenharia S.A.

Grupo R


ING Bank N.V.

Team Tankers International

Det Norske Veritas

Free Bulkers S.A. – Greece

Michel Else & Co.

Pacific Bulk Shipping Limited

Sino Trade International Limited – HK

Spar Shipping AS

Free Seas Inc.

Dispute resolution Tier 2

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega excels in multi-jurisdictional litigation, where it often represents foreign clients. The team is also increasingly active in arbitration, with clients including international consortiums and contractors, which the team represents in international arbitration proceedings against the Republic of Panama, as well as in insolvency proceedings. Labour, antitrust, admiralty, tax and IP disputes also feature in the caseload. The department is led by the highly regarded Fernando Arias, who focuses on civil, commercial, tax and administrative litigation, and Claudio De Castro, a specialist in cross-border disputes, who was promoted to practice co-head in 2020. Sofía Cohen is a name to note for regulatory disputes.

Key clients

American Express

US Bank


Chevron Chemical Company

Milliken & Company

Samsung Corporation

Bijoux Nouveau Inc.

ING Bank



Intellectual property Tier 2

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega is highly active in the registration of trade marks, patents and industrial designs throughout Latin America. The team assists with the management of local and international IP portfolios and handles IP litigation and anti-counterfeiting proceedings. Its strong international client base includes many pharmaceutical and cosmetics companies. Associate Melissa del Busto, who has expertise in patents, trade marks, copyright and health registrations, is the key contact following the departure of Carol Durling in 2019 to act as a sole practitioner.

Offshore Tier 2

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega benefits from its presence in London, Hong Kong, the British Virgin Islands, Belize and Uruguay when advising on multi-jurisdictional matters for high-net-worth individuals and family offices. The team has particular expertise in wealth planning for international clients with assets in multiple jurisdictions, and also assists with the management of family offices, corporate governance, succession planning and international taxation. Gian Castillero, who specialises in private client matters, including estate planning, and Rosa Restrepo, who has expertise in fiscal residency, trusts and foundations, lead the team with corporate services head Fernando Arias.


‘They stand out for their knowledge and quick responses. They are specialists in corporate affairs.’

‘Gian Castillero is a professional who is very strong in corporate matters.’

‘They are very familiar with the laws of each country where they operate and have good connections with their counterparts.’

‘The lawyers are well prepared, they know their subject areas and they know how to communicate effectively with clients.’

Key clients

Asgard Worldwide Services

Banco de Colombia, Latin America

Farrer & Co, United Kingdom

Investec Trust (Switzerland) S.A , Geneva

Banco General, Panama

Aballí Milne Kalil, FL.

Loeb & Loeb LLP

Consortium, Central America

Ulises Cabrera, Dominican Republic

Acosta, Fort, Bertorini, Godoy & Pollari Abogados S.A., Peru

Projects and energy Tier 2

Project finance is a key area of expertise for Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega, which regularly assists with the financing of major traditional and renewable energy projects, predominantly acting for lenders on international financings. It also has experience advising on high-profile public and private infrastructure developments in the transport and healthcare sectors. The multi-disciplinary team is led by Estif Aparicio, who has extensive experience in the financing of energy, transport, health and other public infrastructure projects; banking and capital markets specialist Ricardo Arango; head of government contracts and licences Rosa Restrepo; and Sofía Cohen, who specialises in regulatory issues in the energy sector.

Key clients



Citigroup Global Markets



The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation


Deutsche Bank

Banco General

Real estate Tier 2

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega acts for a diverse client base of real estate developers, financial institutions, construction companies, and hotel and retail operators. The team advises on the financing and development of major residential and commercial projects, as well as the sale and leasing of completed properties. The multi-disciplinary practice also assists with environmental, regulatory, tax and corporate matters in the real estate sector. María Carolina Arroyo, who has significant expertise in real estate finance and Panama's horizontal property regime, leads the team.

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…
Ms Sofía J. Cohen  photo Ms 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…
Mr Roy C Durling  photo Mr Roy C Durling Mr. Durling is a member of ARIFA’s Executive Committee and Head of…
Ms Carol Durling  photo Ms Carol Durling She is Head of the firm’s Intellectual Property Practice Group, and a…
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.
Ms María del C. Zúñiga  photo Ms 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