THE INVESTIGATIONS of the bribes paid by Odebrecht in Panama was strengthened after a criminal judge validated the confessions of three former executives of the construction company, detailing the scores of millions of dollars used to grease the palms of politicians and businessmen.
Now the whole process is in the hands of the judges of an appeals court. Their decision will decide the potential fate of over 50 former prominent Panamanians.
The Special Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office has filed an appeal against the ruling of substitute judge Lania Batista, who ordered the closure of the investigation and provoked demonstrations protesting impunity across the country.
Former Comptroller Alvin Weeden expects the Second Superior Court to revoke the decision of the substitute judge. “In your hands is the justice of the country, “he warned.
Former Attorney General and deputy Ana Matilde Gómez said that that, the confessions s of Odebrecht former executives André Rabello, Olivio Rodriguez Junior and Luiz Da Rocha Soares, “open the possibility of new research routes, with new figures of crime linked “. During his evidence via Skype, Rabello’s face was hidden. The former head of Odebrecht in Panama. said that he and his family had received death threats.
Attorney General Kenia Porcell said that if the investigation continues, “we will see more Panamanians involved.”
Olga de Obaldía, executive director of Transparency International (Panama), said that the confessions of the informers “are not conjectures. They are proven facts, with checks, with documents.”
The court validated three agreements between the Special Anticorruption Prosecutor and Odebrecht collaborators, that exposed the way the Brazilian construction company bribed officials and individuals between 2010 and 2014.
Weeden, who had filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the use of the local banking system for illicit purposes by Odebrecht, said that it was demonstrated “that we were subjected to such a corrupt and widespread political system that family figureheads could hide or transpose the ill-gotten funds, product of bribes.
“Although these acts were already known, what was not known were the details of the quantities, the front men and all the structure that was behind. We must congratulate the Public Ministry [MP] for its dedication to a case as corrupt as the Odebrecht case, “he added.
During the hearing, the three Odebrecht collaborators testified individuals, announced that the sons of former president Ricardo Martinelli received Odebrecht payments of more than $58 million via offshore companies