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Alleged embezzler De Obarrio declared “in absentia”

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Alleged embezzler De Obarrio  declared “in absentia”


Posted 03/06/2022

The First Liquidator Court for Criminal Cases declared Adolfo Chichi De Obarrio, former private secretary of Ex-president Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014), in absentia in the proceeding for alleged embezzlement of the defunct National Aid Program (PAN).

The court ordered the statute of limitations of the criminal action to be suspended until the court manages to get De Obarrio to appear.

In August 2021, this court rejected De Obarrio's request for bail so as not to be detained. Judge Agueda Rentería argued that De Obarrio had shown no interest in appearing.

The former official is being investigated for alleged embezzlement for the purchase of backpacks and is also being prosecuted for alleged unjustified enrichment reports La Prensa.

On that occasion, the judge took into consideration statements by the former director of the PAN, Rafael Guardia Jaén, who confessed to the Public Ministry that De Obarrio was the one who ordered which companies had to be awarded the contracts.

Failed arrest
In 2021, De Obarrio was arrested in Italy as a result of an order issued by the liquidated Fifteenth Court through Interpol, for a case related to the PAN, but was later released when it was established that the National Assembly had not ratified the treaty. of extradition signed between Panama and Italy, a procedure that the Italian authorities had complied with.

On April 18, 2016, the then Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, María Luisa Navarro, took said treaty to the Legislature, chaired by Rubén De León, of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), in a weak “governability” alliance with the then ruling party Panameñista Party.

The Foreign Relations Commission was in the hands of Noriel Salerno, from Cambio Democrático (CD). He was accompanied by Dana Castañeda and Raúl Hernández, from CD; Elías Castillo and Javier Ortega, from the PRD, and Luis Eduardo Quirós, Jorge Rosas, and Antonio Domínguez, from the Panameñista. Salerno led the opposition to the treaty, which was never ratified.


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