A NEW corruption scandal has erupted in Panama following the Panama Papers and Odebrecht bribery revelations to further damage the country’s reputation.
It has landed on the overcrowded desk of Panama’s Attorney General, Kenia Porcell, who confirms that she is investigating the alleged payment of bribes between construction companies, public officials and representatives of the administration.
She told media on Friday, Dec.1 that there is strong evidence in the complex “Blue Apple” case and will provide more details as the investigation progresses, but avoided giving more details in order to shield the evidence,
President Juan Carlos Varela emphasized categorically that the Public Ministry should be allowed to do its work, although his administration is under stress as more details emerge of money received from Odebrechtby his Panamenista Party.
The new research is targeting construction companies, both Panamanian and foreign. In this case, but the great absentee is Odebrecht that is not on the list of companies that the Public Prosecutor has in this file, according to information to which La Estrella de Panamá had access.
Blue Apple Services Inc., opened more than five accounts in Panamanian banks in which the group of constructors deposited almost $ 40 million.
The triangulation scheme through the company managed to channel $ 39.6 million in alleged bribes for direct contracts and for tenders. The money, once again, would have passed without alerts throughout the Panamanian banking system, according to a judicial source.
Ongoing investigations show that part of the funds would have been reinvested in properties like cars, beach houses and luxury residential projects in the capital city.
The list includes companies that have names related to the entertainment industry, casino and agricultural consultants.
The Public Ministry is seeking how the funds were destined to these investments and the names of the officials who finally received the money through what is also known as the ‘blue apple scandal’.
The documents of the Public Ministry reveal the names of the Panamanians behind Blue Apple Services. The Public Registry shows that that the directors are Federico Antonio Barrios, Darla Alain, César Elías Quintero, Juan Alexis Rodríguez and Edwin Domínguez. Barrios is a director at the law firm Federico Barrios, which is also being investigated by the Public Ministry.
Blue Apple was created on May 3, 2003, and for each contract with the State, the company in charge paid 10% of the amount contracted.