Chichi de Obarrio was wearing a beard when arrested according to Milan media reports.
Adolfo Chichi De Obarrio, who served as Ricardo Martinelli's private secretary when he was president of Panama (2009-2014), was arrested in Milan, Italy, on Wednesday, April 7 in response to a request from Interpol.
Marco Turchetto, a spokesman for the Milan Police, indicated that the 39-year-old was captured on the street by agents of a mobile squad, following instructions from the Interpol Division of the International Police Cooperation Service.
He spent the night a local prison and, according to Italian media reports, has grown a beard and was carrying dual passports, Italian and Panamanian.
“The person sought [by Panama], who served as private secretary to the President of the Republic in the period between 2009 and 2014, would have received the payment of bribes by businessmen in exchange for the award of public contracts related to national aid programs for the purchase of school supplies, a crime for which a maximum penalty of 12 years in prison is foreseen in Panamanian law, ”says Turchetto's communication.
In July 2018, De Obarrio was called to trial for irregularities in the purchase of school backpacks, with funds from the PAN ( National Aid Program ). He is accused of alleged embezzlement, corruption of officials, and fraud in public contracts. A criminal case was also opened against Abraham Williams, a former PAN official.
Since then, criminal judge Leslie Loaiza ordered the immediate arrest of De Obarrio and Williams (then also a fugitive), and the issuance of red alerts through Interpol, in order to ensure the capture of both.
In this case, there is a collaboration agreement - validated by Judge Laoiza - of the former director of the PAN, Rafael Guardia , who pointed out that De Obarrio "was the person who gave instructions to Guardia and who chose which companies should be hired", while Williams, who was assistant to the PAN leadership, "followed up on the documents for the execution of the programs."
The investigation of cost overruns in the acquisition of school backpacks, for approximately $12 million began on September 5, 2014, by the now defunct Second Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office.
De Obarrio is mentioned in other cases about purchases with PAN money.
Panama: PAN - $12 million / School back packs - $14 million / Pegasus spy equipment... Panama former president Martinelli used PAN for some expenses for his helicopter. The list goes on but without specifics that ties the evidence...the list stops. Martinelli lawyers actually work magic when the evidence just disappears. While everyone around him working as front men with documentation just goes to jail or has their day with the court system to either make a mockery of Panama or just look for another angle to the God Father...Martinelli. Italy was not following the God Father with the capture of...Chichi de Obarrio. What is at stake? A defenseless Panama could only rely on justice from the... United States...Spain (motherland)...Italy and the new Panama prosecutor/s to round up the calvary with flags waving! International Nations are involved and Panamanians can now see a new strategy in the works. Martinelli assets... [Frozen]...will break up his battery of defense lawyers. Restitution, penalties... and well, some prison time in the Bahamas...maybe. Panama will find a way for Martinelli and his masterful art of business deal persuasion. Again, will international battery of lawyers put up with the dancing Martinelli? If not...Panama may very well dance with the God Father from hell.
Arrest enough of them and they will turn on each other to cut a better deal with the courts. Every man for themselves