Boot drops for Martinelli sons “criminal network”
THE “criminal structure” that operated in Panama to collect bribes from Odebrecht was headed by the two sons of ex-President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) said anti-corruption prosecutor Zuleika Moore on Thursday, November 9.
She revealed the information during the conclusion of the hearing at the Supreme Court to ratify the agreement reached by the Prosecutor’s Office with Odebrecht and its executives, including Andre Rabello, former representative of the construction company in Panama, to recover the monies taken from the State.
She listed several of Martinelli’ ministers, his former presidential candidate José Domingo Arias, as well as a law firm of a current pro-government deputy and another collaborator of the ruling Panameñista Party as part of the network.
The “effective collaboration agreement”, which establishes that Odebrecht will pay a fine of up to $220 million d and its executives and other officials will provide vital information for the investigations of the Prosecutor’s Office on bribes paid in Panama.
At least $40 million was paid by Odebrecht to the “criminal organization”, which worked “and works” in Panama, She said that the agreement allowed the recovery of information and “assets” through “search proceedings”.
She told Óscar Carrasquilla the judge in charge of the approval hearing, that the agreement must be ratified because the collaboration has been “effective”.
Ricardo and Luis Martinelli Linares were the first “to approach” Odebrecht to offer “services” to “remove obstacles” in 2009, “even before the president-elect (Ricardo Martinelli) took office,” said the prosecutor.
She based the statements on the detailed tests provided by the construction company, which she said, also gave information voluntarily dating back to 2007.”
Odebrechet arrived in Panama in 2006, according to data from the company, and is the main contractor of the Panamanian State, where it employs some 8,000 people and is currently executing work that exceeds $3 billion
The former ministers Demetrio” “Jimmy” Papadimitriu, Jaime Ford and Frank De Lima, as well as the former presidential candidate of his Democratic Change Party (CD) José Domingo Arias, are on the list of the beneficiaries of the bribes read and explained by prosecutor Moore.
Also on that list are the banking executive and president of the NexTV chain Ricardo Francollini, the firm Rosas & Rosas, the pro-government deputy Jorge Alberto Rosas, the ex-consul Jaime Lasso and his daughter Michelle, linked to the Panameñista Party of President Varela.
Lasso told the anti-corruption prosecution that Odebrecht contributed $700,000 as donations to the Varela campaign for the Vice President in 2009, which the Panamanian president acknowledged on Thursday warning that political donations are not a crime, unlike bribes, which are.
Prosecutor Moore said that the ex-Consul was “the subject of an investigation by [Martinelli appointee], Attorney General Ana Belfon,” who “decided to suspend the proceedings that had been initiated against Jaime Lasso and another investigation against his daughter, Michelle Lasso.”
“We incorporate this documentation, which limits the current performance by the present prosecutor’s office, which does not hinder the processing before the competent authorities of the persons who could be benefited with these payments made by Odebrecht,” said the prosecutor.
So far, reports La Estrella, former President Martinelli has not been directly mentioned as the recipient of an undue payment, which, as reported by the Prosecutor’s Office, was made through various channels, accounts, countries, companies and frontmen, all identified by Odebrecht.
Martinelli is in a Miami detention center, awaiting extradition. His sons have fled to an unknown destination and $22 million in Swiss bank accounts linked to them, has been frozen.A helicopter and a luxury Madrid apartment have been seized.