Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Pancho Campo MW: A question of legal silence

Jim’s Loire has been asking Pancho Campo a series of questions since early October with as yet no response, although Pancho did offer an explanation for his silence in an email to me on 23rd November.

Pancho Campo MW to Jim Budd: 23.11.09
‘Please don’t feel I am ignoring you. My lawyers in Washington, Dubai and Spain have strongly advised me not no disclose any information. They are getting close to seeing some light and don’t want to jeopardize their efforts. Also, the authorities involved have asked for silence and discretion until further notice.

Trust me, you will be first one I will contact as soon as I am given permission to speak.

I am innocent and I will prove my innocence. As a member of the wine community who has tried to contribute to the industry, I would appreciate some support and the benefit of the doubt. If Decanter is willing to, when this ordeal gets to an end I will be happy to give you the story.’


Pancho's discretion above is somewhat in contrast to an interview given in Jerez on 3rd October but this may well have been given before his lawyers and the authorities involved counselled silence.

From an interview in Jerez – 3rd October 2009

From the second question:

-Pero pesa sobre usted una orden internacional de arresto.
-No, es de localización. Y fíjese lo difícil que le ha sido a usted localizarme. Me ha llamado por teléfono, hemos quedado y aquí estoy.

But there is an international arrest warrant issued against you.

No, it's to find me. And see how difficult it was for you to find me. You called me up by phone, we fixed a date and here I am.

-¿Por qué le buscan?
-Por algo que sucedió en Emiratos Árabes, cuando yo vivía en Dubai. Allí se rigen por la legislación musulmana y cualquier delito,ya sea por no pagar la hipoteca o por un talón sin fondos, se juzga por la vía penal. Aquí, sin embargo, no sería más que una cuestión civil.

Why are they looking for you?

Over something that happened in the UAE, when I lived in Dubai. They live by Muslim legislation there and any offense (the word can also be translated as "crime"), be it for not paying your mortgage or for a bounced cheque, is tried via the penal code.

-¿Qué es lo que pasó para que le reclamen?
-Una ex socia de la empresa que tenía en Dubai puso un dinero en la sociedad, pero ésta quebró y ella reclama ahora el dinero.

What happened for them to be looking for you?

A former partner in a business I had in Dubai put money into the business, but it went bankrupt and she now claims the money.

-¿Ese dinero no le corresponde?
-No, porque era una aportación de capital. En esos casos perdemos todos. Yo, personalmente, perdí bastante más, pero ése es el riesgo que se asume.

Doesn't the money belong to her?

No, because it was a capital injection. In cases like those we all lose everything. Personally, I lost a lot more, but that's the risk you take.

-¿Nunca llegó a celebrarse un juicio por eso?
-Se fijó un juicio, pero yo no me enteré. No pudieron localizarme porque entonces yo ya no vivía en Dubai y me había venido a España. Se ve que la Justicia de Emirato Árabes me reclama ahora por esto y ha recurrido a la Interpol. Eso es todo. Creo que se está cometiendo una tremenda injusticia conmigo, pero, como le dije, estoy tranquilo.

Was there never a court case over that?

A court case was arranged, but I didn't get to hear about it. They weren't able to find me because I didn't live in Dubai anymore and had come to live in Spain. It can be seen that the Justice of the UAE is now looking for me and has gone to Interpol. That's all. I think a tremendous injustice has been committed against me, but as I said to you, I'm calm.



Tobias Øno said...

From his responses it seems to me he is either innocent or very smooth. Doesn't he merit the benefit of doubt?

Jim's Loire said...


He may be innocent, although apart from a variety of assurances there is no hard evidence to back up this claim.

It remains unclear how lawyers can resolve the conviction in Dubai. Can there be an appeal launched more than six years after the case was heard? If an appeal was possible, would Pancho Campo MW have to be in the jurisdiction of Dubai for this to be allowed?

Anonymous said...

There also is no hard evidence to refute his claim of innocence. Without knowing the full details of the case and who it went to trial with, he was convicted in absentia and without defence. He is out to clear his name. Let the lawyers do their work and the number crunchers work it out.

Jim's Loire said...

Thanks for your message, although I'm sorry you have chosen to be anonymous. The Spanish Embassy in UAE has confirmed his conviction. Pancho Campo was tried in absentia as he had chosen to leave the country.

As a journalist I utter reject your call to leave it to the lawyers. I shall continue to ask questions. Whether people wish to answer them is naturally down to them, although I may draw my own conclusions from their silence.

You also forget the red notice on Interpol.