Supreme Court judges fingered in pay-off allegations

Supreme Court Judges Ortega amd De Leon

The Public Prosecutor has opened an investigation into alleged corruption involving two Supreme Court judges following complaints from Chiriqui businessman César Alvarado Taylor who confesses that he paid out  $40,000  to get a favorable court ruling and spoke for more than four years with the son of Supreme Court Judge  Oydén  Ortega. to negotiate a ruling in his favor.

Alvarado Taylor confirmed on Wednesday, November 15,   everything he presented in complaints he to the National Assembly (where they were filed) and to the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

In an interview with La Prensa, Alvarado Taylor reiterated that Oydén Ortega Collado -the son of Court magistrate Oydén Ortega Durán- asked for money in exchange for the admission of a cassation appeal related to a lawsuit over the sale of eight farms in 2002.

Initially, he informed César Alvarado that it would cost $15,000 to admit the appeal and involve Judge Hernán De León.

La Prensa was shown details of conversations with Ortega Jr., which reveal how he asked for money, so that the file, which was initially in the hands of ex-magistrate Harley Mitchell, remained in the hands of Ortega Durán, and the key intervention of the interim president of the Court, Hernán De León. He confessed that, in total, he gave them about $40,000 including the initial $15,000 and money for “travel”.

He said that that the magistrate’s son told him: “I’m going to Orlando, so help me with something. Claudia [Purcait, secretary of magistrate Ortega] is going to see her sister in New York,  and will be gone for a month so she needs you to help her.”

For each trip, he said he gave them $2,000 or $3,000.

Everything became nonnegotiable when according to Ortega Jr. De León asked for $ 250,000 to rule in his favor. “They told me that I was winning [the ruling] and that Hernán De León said that the other people had already offered $ 250,000, At that time  Alvarado Taylor decided to file the complaint in the Assembly.

In this case, the Public Ministry is investigating the alleged commission of the crime of corruption.  reports La Prensa. Meanwhile, for the second time,  the Supreme Court decided not to comment on the thorny issue.

Alvarado Taylor reiterated yesterday that every week he spoke personally with Ortega Collado. “I went every Tuesday [to Ortega’s gym]. From 2013 to 2017. …  I was desperate”.

Alvarado Taylor showed La Prensa the record of the conversations about the negotiation for the payment of the procedure, among other things. “And you had to give it [the money]. It’s not that I went to give it. It was that they asked me. And there it is in the chats. They always

communicated with [Hernán de Leon Alvarado, even, tells that when he met with the son of the magistrate, he called De León through a “little phone that does not have chats”. Asked when he decided to file a complaint with the National Assembly. Alvardo Taylor said: “When I saw that I could not pay the $250 000 and hen they told t me that I won [the merits of the case] and that Hernán De León said that the other people had already offered $250,000 and if  I didn’t pay they would change it. “.

How much money had he paid them at that time? Alvarado says that every so often they asked for $2,000  or $3,000 for trips or other matters. They told him: “so help me with something.  ” And so, they asked and asked.”

The MP is investigating the supposed commission of the crime of server corruption. Ortega Collado and  ClaudiaPurcait are targeted.

At an activity of the Confucius Institute, the magistrate Ortega avoided the topic the topic: and told La Pensa “My honesty is not in doubt”, “everything is false”.

“It’s a business in which sentences are sold to the highest bidder.” Said  Linda Watt, former US ambassador Panama, who in a report she sent to Washington on July 22, 2005, informing her peers about how justice operated on the isthmus. “A supremely corrupt Court corrodes not only the Judicial Body itself but also the Legislature and the Executive, corrupting society itself,” Watt said in the message that was leaked by Wikileaks.