“I knew nothing about it," said President Ricardo Martinelli on Tuesday, July 10, when questioned about ?? concessions at Tocumen International Airport with links to a relative lawyer awaiting trial in the Paitilla titling scandal and to a relative.
The president's brief statement came during a tour of the new airport in Colon. He ignored the questions prompted by revelations by a La Prensa investigation team into direct contracts made ??by the board of Tocumen, SA.
Among the contracts awarded without competition was the construction, management and operation of parking lots. a passenger and cargo terminal, to a company incorporated on June 2, 2011.
Republic Parking Tocumen, SA, benefited from the contract from October 2011, and has raised the cost ofparking by 66%.
Until August 2011, when details of the Paitilla titling scandal became public, Francisco Perez Ferreira, was one of the directors of Republic Parking.
Perez Ferreira a lawyer who formed the company Segura Ventures Inc., which got the free transfer of land in Paitilla.
He is now awaiting trial along with the now former director of the National Qualifications Authority of Land Management Anabelle Villamonte.
Jorge Correa, manager of Republic Parking Tocumen, SA, was formerly commercial manager of Tocumen, SA.
On August 22, 2011, Perez Ferreira resigned from the board of Republic Parking. The expeditious processing of resignation was due to the use of the procedure called "disturbing turn", for which the Public Registry charges $ 250.
The investigation of La Prensa into the Paitilla titling scandal exposed connections to businessman Gabriel Btesh who has people working for him in other concessions at Tocumen.
Attempts by La Prensa to speak with Perez Ferreira and Btesh, to clarify a possible Btesh connection to Republic Parking and other links, were unsuccessful.
The manager of Republic Parking , Jorge Correa, who as business manager of Tocumen, was aware of the recruitment process at the airport.
As business manager of Tocumen, SA, Correa earned a monthly salary of $5,000.
According to Tocumen, SA, the concessionaire has so far invested about $1.8 million.
Republic Parking Tocumen, also has links with the Association Consortium formed by RPS-Accidental Republic Parking System International, LLC and Republic Parking Albrook, SA, which obtained a $3.4 million contract with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The contract is for the study, design, construction and provision of parking space at Marcos A. Gelabert airport and rehabilitation of the access road to the terminal.
The 20-year contract renewable, was signed by Rafael Barcenas, administrator of the FAA and American David Lambeck, representative of the company, which also operates and manages parking lots of several U.S. airports.
Lambeck figured as director of Republic Parking Tocumen, SA, Republic Parking Albrook, SA, and currently chairs Republic Parking System of Panama, SA, according to information from the Public Registry.
"The state did not have the money to build ... there must be other priority projects ... There is currently a mess with the parking because there are people who leave their cars there and take the train for Colon "said Barcenas.
Republic Parking Albrook, SA was incorporated on August 16, 2011, the same day of approval of specifications in which only the company was involved.
Perez Ferreira was also an officer of that company until August 2011 when the Paitilla scandal broke . This newspaper sent questions by email to businessman Luis Mendez Lacayo, who appears as a director and company contact Republic Parking Systems Panama, but neither responded.
One company shareholder of Republic Parking Systems of Panama, SA is Inversiones FMP, Inc., whose president is the lawyer Francisco Martinelli Patton according to information in the proposal submitted by the undertaking to the AAC for bidding for the Albrook airport parking.
Patton Martinelli is a cousin of President Ricardo Martinelli, and, like the president, is noted in the files of the Prosecutor's Office in Naples, Italy, for alleged bribes paid to Panamanian officials for the purchase of equipment for about $ 250 million from Italian consortium Finmeccanica.
FMP Investments SA also got a concession for 10 years for packaging bags at Tocumen. Airport.
In those 10 years FMP Investments, Inc. will pay $ 150 000 to Tocumen, SA, as required by acontract endorsed by the comptroller, Mona Lisa Bianchini. Who prior to her appointment work for Marinelli busineses.
Patton Martinelli told La Prensa that FMP Investments SA has offered over the past 15 years the same service without exclusivity in Tocumen airport.
"I'm not involved in concessions at Tocumen Republic. Republic is an internationally recognized company that operates, licenses, franchises and / or manages parking lots, " said Patton Martinelli
"I repeat, I have nothing to do with Tocumen nor otherwise related to Republic ... I did not nor do I have shares in my name or my company or another company related to me ... it may be that [the document that La Prensa published] it does not reflect the actuality of the company as of today," he said.