Following the money in the case known as New Business has so far managed to trace some $1.3 million.
The First Specialized Prosecutor’s Office against Organized Crime is tracking
the trail of accounts and companies linked to the purchase of the Editora Panamá América, S.A. with public money syphoned from an overpriced highway project during the Martinelli administration.
The money, according to judicial sources that requested anonymity, was located in different banking accounts in Panama and overseas reports La Prensa.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office has charged 31 people, for alleged money laundering. The prosecution is also following 26 companies that would be linked to the crime.
Of that group, 15 have been identified in Panama and the rest in different international jurisdictions.
Prosecutor David Mendoza has asked for judicial assistance to complete his research, from the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the People’s Republic of China.
Among those investigated are , several of them involved in other corruption investigations case are the merchants Daniel Ochy, David Ochy, Dina Ochy, Felipe Pipo Virzi, Gabriel Btesh, Mike Btesh, Danny Cohen, Moussa Daniel Levy, Gonzalo Germán Gómez, Riccardo Francolini, Leo David Cohen, Solomon Btesh, Jack Btesh, Angel Frames, Nadin Bhakta, Ori Zbeda Levy, Aaron Mizrachi and Tse Yum Ling, and the ex-directors of the defunct Financial Pacific FP brokerage Ivan Clare and West Valdés, as well as former employees of FP, Mayte Pellegrini and Óscar Rodríguez.
In an August 25, ruling of the eighteenth criminal judge, Baloisa Marquínez, refused to rule the case complex. Mendoza appealed the decision and the Second Criminal Superior Court, determined that New Business is a complex cause, since “it brings together budgets of organized crime, accordingly (…) “.
Judge Wilfredo Sáenz Fernández, granted him one year – extendable – to continue gathering evidence. According to judicial sources, 10 of the accused have fled the country and the prosecution does not know their whereabouts.