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Swiss accuse Martinelli sons – seize $22 million

Posted on January 23, 2017 in Panama

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Ex-president Martinelli, flanked by his two sons
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THE BOOT finally appears to have dropped for the Ricardo Martinelli family as Swiss Federal prosecutors have formally accused the two children of former President Ricardo Martinelli of bribery of foreign officials and money laundering.

The prosecutors have seized $22 million in Swiss banks.

What remains uncertain is if, and when,  Panama authorities will take action, as Martinelli and his sons have  fled the country and Panama’s Attorney General has been aware of the seizure for almost a year.

The Swiss prosectors suspect that according to evidence obtained from bank transactions collected for about a year, that the money was paid  by Odebrecht to the sons  Luis Enrique and Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares as bribes for infrastructure works awarded to the company by the Panamanian State.

The money arrived at Swiss bank accounts opened in the name of  two corporations whose final beneficiaries were the Martinelli Linares brothers reports La Prensa.

According to them they declared to three Swiss banks in the opening forms.

Both companies also have accounts in Switzerland – jointly or individually – opened under five other offshore companies,  about which details have not  yet beengiven.

Switzerland explained in a letter sent to Panama Attorney General prosecutor Kenia Porcell on February 24, 2016 – that the $22 million dollars were seized and that in case Panama claims the money, “it would have to request its seizure by means of a request for judicial assistance directed to Switzerland “and if you also want to claim the delivery of bank documents seized in Switzerland, you would have to do the same.”

Almost a year after the letter arrived in Panama, it is unknown whether the Public Ministry (MP) of Panama has requested – as suggested by the Swiss prosecutors – the seizure of thes money and the documents in the case.

Public Ministry  sources told La Prensa,  that the money has already been taken care of by the Swiss authorities, but they preferred to keep silence on whether Panama has  requested its seizure.

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/swiss-accuse-martinelli-sons-seize-22-million

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The attempts at translation of mainstream media articles by Newsroom Panama are pitiful.

Retributions ..wait for them.

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Supreme Court stalls Swiss Martinelli probe

Posted on January 31, 2017 in Panama

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PANAMA’S Supreme Court has for sis months  been sitting on a Swiss request for judicial assistance to determine whether ex-president Ricardo Martinelli received bribes from Odebrecht. 

The court admitted the petition in August 2016, but sources from the Judicial Branch told La Prensa it is not yet concluded, as some steps are still incomplete.

Swiss authorities are seeking information about the

company Constructora Internacional del Sur, which they say was used to pay bribes.

Brazilian Fernando de Silva has been jailed in Brazil connection with activities related to that company which  had bank accounts in Panama that were allegedly used to move some $47 million over seven years.

The request for judicial assistance has to be handled by the Supreme Court because Martinelli is a member of the Central American Parliament, and as such any legal matter involving him can’t be handled by the Attorney General.

Martinelli, during his election campaign called Parlacen “A den of thieves” but flew to Guatemala to join the den the morning Varela took office.

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/supreme-court-stalls-swiss-martinelli-probe

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Bank embezzlement 9th case against Martinelli

Posted on February 3, 2017 in Panama

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A new embezzlement  investigation against  ex-President Ricardo Martinelli brings the total charges he is facing to 9.

The latest is for embezzlement in a loan granted by the Caja de Ahorros (CA) for the construction of the Amador Convention Center.

Martinelli who is self-exiled in Miami describes all the  corruption indictments against him as “political persecution”

Judge Cecilio Cedalise, is  prosecutor for the case admitted  by  the Supreme Court. The Judge  of Guarantees is Jerónimo Mejía.

The file reached the Supreme Court on December 1.

The businessman and ex-vice-president Felipe ‘Pipo’ Virzi, who managed the loan, said that part of the money was given to Martinelli to cover a debt in the Financial Pacific (FP). Brokerage reports La Estrella.

Martinelli who has been in Miami  for two years, already  faces an extradition request.

He  is investigated and tried by the Supreme Court because his position as deputy of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen) which he once labeled a den of thieves.

The bank’s board of directors for the five-year period 2009-2014,  when Martinelli ruled, was chaired by Ricardo Francolini.

He  and  the former manager, Jayson Pastor and deputy manger  Rodrigo Arosemena Pino, are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on March 27, The three are being held at the El Renacer Prison.

The former president is being investigated for extortion of Impregilo, for the irregularities in the purchase of dehydrated food in the defunct National Assistance Program (PAN), for telephone espionage, the purchase of grain at inflated prices from the PAN, for alleged manipulation of the stock market with the Petaquilla mining company, using Financial Pacific accounts, the presumed collection of fines in Cobranzas del Istmo SA, for granting 353 pardons before leaving power and for stripping  residents of Bahía Honda, Veraguas of their lands.

The wiretapping case is the most advanced and The Court has requested the extradition of Martinelli to face the proceedings.

Martinelli fled  the country in 2015 to settle in the US  as an investor.

He has claimed via Twitter that   all the proceedings against him have been fabricated.

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/bank-embezzlement-9th-case-martinelli

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Interpol Red Alert for Martinelli’s sons

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Martinelli and sons

WHILE their father, ex president Ricardo Martinelli,  rests in apparent tranquility in Miami, his two sons  are facing an Interpol red alert.

Special Anti-corruption Prosecutor Tania Sterling has  issued an international arrest warrant against the brothers Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares, and the lawyer Evelyn Ivette Vargas.

The brothers are  wante  for the alleged commission of crime against the economic order in the investigation of the payment of bribes by the  Odebrecht company  following  information sent  from judicial authorities in  Switzerland and Brazil to the Public Ministry.

The investigation provides details of bank transfers and companies related to , Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares, children of President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014.

According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, three joint-stock companies in which the children of the former president were beneficiaries received millions of dollars aire figures between 2009 and 2012: Kadair Investment Ltd (Kadair), with jurisdiction in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Fordel International Ltd, with jurisdiction In Bahamas and Aragon Finance Corp. (BVI).

The transfers were made through several offshore companies that the construction company Odebrecht used to make improper payments to public officials around the world.

The young Martinellis , according to the inquiries, received a total of $ 8.76 million in the Kadair account, and 12.3 million euros in the companies Fordel International and Aragon Finance Corp.

The investigations indicate that the company Constructora Internacional del Sur – subject  of multiple ‘Lava Jato’ criminal investigations in Brazil -, whose final beneficiary was Olivio Rodríguez – financial operator of the construction company – $3.2 million was transferred to the Kadair account.

According to the prosecution data, the Martinelli brothers also received transfers to the Fordel International account, opened at the Banque Lombard Odier

For that reason, the directors of the company Promotora Los Andes, SA, were investigated by the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the company used by the Martinelli brothers in Switzerland to justify the receipt of money received in bank accounts .

The payments by Odebrecht were made through the company’s Structured Operations Division to pass unregistered funds to offshore companies designated by Panamanian government officials and intermediaries.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/interpol-red-alert-martinellis-sons

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Interpol accepts red alert request for Martinelli’s sons.

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INTERPOL  has accepted Panama’s request to issue an international red alert to locate  and arrest the two sons of ex-president Ricardo Martinelli.

The request  for the alert to capture Ricardo  Alberto Martinelli Linares and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares,  was issued by the Attorney General’s Office as part of the Odebrecht investigation.

In January, Swiss federal prosecutors formally accused the sons of the former president of bribery of foreign officials and money laundering, which resulted in the freezing of bank accounts containing $22 million.

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/interpol-accepts-red-alert-request-martinellis-sons

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Fugitive’s declaration won’t wash in money laundering case

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Fugitives Ricardo and Luis Martinelli Linares

 A   NOTARIZED  statement  by the fugitive sons of  former Panama  president Ricardo Martinelli does not  remove  them from  the Interpol  Red Alert list say Public Ministry sources.

The  declaration made in Miami by the brothers Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli claiming they are separated from the company Promotora and Desarrollo Los Andes, S.A., does not exempt them from responsibility in the investigation carried out by the Public Prosecutor’s Special Anticorruption Office   for the alleged commission of the crime of money laundering the sources told La Prensa, explaining that they  are being investigated because some of their companies would be used to  try to justify the money  received from Odebrecht.

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/martinelli-sons-declaration-wont-wash-money-layndering-case

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Prosecutor reviewing equipment seized in probe of Martinelli sons

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THE ANTI-CORRUPTION  Special Prosecutor’s Office is  reviewing  computers and cell phones seized in carried out Feb. 23 at Importadora Ricamar, the headquarters of the Martinelli Super 99 supermarket chain, which also houses the offices of Promotora y Desarrollo Los Andes linked to Ricarso Martinelli’s fugitive sons,

Equipment from the the residence of attorney Evelyn Vargas Reynaga  was also seized and is being studied.

Prosecutor Tania Sterling and attorneys for Luis Enrique Martinelli and Evelyn Vargas Reynaga, two of the defendants in the case, were at the Institute of Forensic Medicine and Forensic Science (Imelcf) in Clayton, where the review took place.

The survey was conducted on two computers of Vargas. One of these was seized in the office of Promotora y Desarrollo Los Andes, located in the Los Andes shopping center in San Miguelito, and the other from her office at Importadora Ricamar. In addition, two cell phones were reviewed.

They also inspected a computer belonging to Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares that was confiscated from Importadora Ricamar.

Roniel Ortiz, an attorney for Promotora y Desarrollo Los Andes, said that Vargas does not currently have an office at the company, and works exclusively at Importadora Ricamar.

Juan Vega, the lawyer for Vargas Reynaga, did not respond to requests from La Prensa  for comment.

The case revolves around charges that Vargas Reynaga, and the two sons of ex-president  Ricardo Martinelli hid money in Swiss bank accounts from  bribes paid by the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/prosecutor-reviewing-equipment-seized-probe-martinelli-sons

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Watch his lips: Martinelli’s promised return

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Watch his lips: Martinelli’s promised returnEX-PRESIDENT  Ricardo Martinelli, is  mimicking the famed “ I shall return” words of  US General Douglas MacArthur, when forced out of the Philippines in WW II.

Panama’s former numero uno  has once again vowed to  his shrinking core of CD supporters that he will return in 2019.

Whether he plans a previously announced triumphal parade across the country accompanied by flag waving believers  or arrives  surrounded by a phalanx of lawyers as he heads to court to face some  dozen court cases that could earn him sentences of over 20 years, he hasn’t revealed.

Martinelli, skipped the country February 28, 2014 on his private jet, which has revisited the country only to ferry a fleeing member of  his former inner circle, now on the Interpol wanted list, along with a growing number of former Panama notables.

On the anniversary of his own exit  he took time put  to send a message to his remaining idealogues, wishing them a happy Carnival, and to distribute a hymn of praise, written and recorded by a supporter.

“”I would like to be with you celebrating in San Carlos with my great friend and lawyer, Alma Cortés … I am sure you will enjoy it very much,” said the ex leader  reiterating that in 2019 he will return to the country.

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MacArthur’s return

Meanwhile a process for his extradition is bogged down somewhere in the US judicial system, and an Interpol red alert is out for his two sons. Cortes, who bought her way out of preventive  detention  is awaiting trial for illegal  enrichment.

The Martinelli return is unlikely to draw as much attention as MacArthur’s, and his previously promised triumphal cross country parade is unlikely to outshine that of military coup leader Omar Torrijos.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/watch-lips-martinellis-promised-return

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Martinelli companies’ lawyer busted for money laundering

by Eric Jackson

Attorney Evelyn Ivette Vargas Reynaga was, as these words were written, being held in the DIJ jail awaiting a decision on whether she might get bail on money laundering charges. Ms. Vargas is the in-house lawyer for Ricardo Martinelli’s Ricamar company, which is mostly in the business of food packaging for items to be marketed at the former president’s Super 99 stores. (We might quibble about attributing ownership — said to have been transferred to other family members by the fugitive ex-president, Super 99 and other businesses were arguably the objects of fraudulent transfers to avoid justice and can arguably be set aside. It is a statement about the nature and motives of Panama’s executive and judicial branches of government that no serious move has yet been made to seize these assets.) On a Swiss complaint that Panama’s Public Ministry has embraced, Evelyn Vargas is accused of setting up transactions by which at least $22 million in bribes from the Brazilian construction-based conglomerate Odebrecht passed into the possession of the former president’s two sons, Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares.

It is said to have been a complex yet banal financial shell game. Constructora Internacional del Sur, a Panamanian subsidiary of Odebrecht, allegedly transferred money through another Odebrecht-owned company, Bakley Assets, into Swiss bank accounts in the names of two British Virgin Islands shell companies, Kadair Investment Ltd and Aragon Finance Corp, and a Bahamian shell, Fordel International Ltd. The recipient companies are said to be owned by the two Martinelli sons. Some of the transfers were said to be in US dollars and others in euros between 2009 and 2012. At current exchange rates they would be worth more than $23 million but that value has fluctuated over time. If they were actually conduits for the ex-president himself, any investigation into that would be outside of the jurisdiction of the courts and prosecutors handling this case, as the Supreme Court is the exclusive venue for any case involving the elder Martinelli.

Vargas is accused of setting up the Martinellis’ shells and signing some of the papers involved in the transactions. But she says that she was just an in-house lawyer for the Martinellis’ businesses — on the Ricamar payroll but also doing work for the former ruling family’s real estate company, Promotora Los Andes. She was arrested in Mexico on February 22 and without objection sent back to Panama to face legal proceedings. She had an INTERPOL “red note” arrest warrant out for her but she went to Mexico not to escape prosecution but to be at the side of her father, who was dying of cancer, and then making final arrangements after his death. Published reports, based on statements that lawyers for Vargas and the Martinellis have made to various media, have it that her defense is that her job was being given papers to sign by her bosses, which she signed but really had nothing to do. It’s a corporate lawyer’s version of the “I was only following orders” Nuremberg defense. Her defense lawyer also asserts that whether or not she set up companies, she played no role in actual money transfers.

During the course of three days of interrogation, police and prosecutors raided the offices of Ricamar and Promotora Los Andes. Documents taken in those raids are being compared with Vargas’s testimony and documents obtained from other jurisdictions before the prosecutors will make a decision about bail or preventive detention.

This case is one of at least six Odebrecht matters that the prosecutors of the Public Ministry are pursuing. In the event that they find evidence suggesting criminal activity by former President Ricardo Martinelli, they will have to hand that over to the Supreme Court and desist from any line of inquiry about his conduct. The cases against Vargas and the Martinelli sons, Attorney General Kenia Porcell has noted, relies in part from information obtained from authorities in Switzerland, Brazil and the United States. But legislator and PRD leader Pedro Miguel González says that the Odebrecht bribery inquiries with respect to Panama also involve information from Hong Kong, Andorra and Liechtenstein.

Following upon the recent money laundering arrests of attorneys Jürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca Mora, the Vargas case is part of a relatively new phenomenon of Panamanian lawyers being accused of complicity in financial crimes for which they set up the structures. It’s leading some legal professionals and many more of their clients to question to scope and value of attorney-client privilege in Panama. The norm in most countries is that the privilege ends when the attorney becomes an active participant in the crime, but that’s not always an easy distinction to make. Here lawyers have historically been unaccountable for most of what they do, whether for malpractice or for being accomplices in crimes. Even those caught, convicted and jailed for stealing from their clients generally do not get disbarred.

 

http://www.thepanamanews.com/2017/02/martinellis-lawyer-busted-for-money-laundering/

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Interpol red alert called for Martinelli sons

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Ricardo Martinelli and his two sons

ANTI-CORRUPTION Prosecutor Tania Sterling, has issued an  arrest warrant, and asked Interpol to issue  a red alret for the two sons of former president Ricardo Martinelli.

Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares – fled the country  on October 16, 2015.

They  are wanted part of the investigation related to bribes paid by Odebrecht through Swiss banks.

On February 1, the Special Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office said that the  research is related to the sum of $ 22 million Which Swiss judicial authorities froze in bank accounts of  the brothers Martinelli Linares,because they suspect – according to the evidence obtained from bank transactions collected from about a year ago – that the money was paid by  Odebrecht as bribes for infrastructure  works awarded to the company by the Panamanian State.

On January 23 the prosecution filed charges against the Martinelli sons and 15 other people. for the alleged commission of crimes against the economic order, in the form of money laundering .

“The file has incorporated several elements of evidence,  of  money  diverted from a bank based in Panama, using Panamanian and foreign companies with companies located in our country, used to try to conceal the illicit origin of money deposited and directly related to assets found in our country,” says the prosecutor in relation to the alleged linking  of the accused with the crime.

The prosecution states that companies such as Baxley Asset Inc .; Hadar Assets Inc.; Constructora Internacional del Sur, S.A. and the Credicorp Bank conspired  “to consummate the acts of receipt, deposit, negotiation, transfer or conversion of monies, and  securities; and conceal the illicit origin of them, thereby also making it difficult or impossible to identify the origin in question, the legal consequences of the wrongful act and the recovery of the assets “.

The prosecution also highlights information provided by  Swiss prosecutors who note that banking transactions were received in three companies and ” and are suspected bribes paid by Odebrecht and that the two children of the “former president of Panama are beneficiaries.

It states that Swiss banks opened accounts in the name of Kadair Investment Ltd .; Fordel International Ltd .; and Aragon Finance Corp.

Prosecutors note that Constructora Internacional del Sur, linked to Odebrecht, transferred $ 3.2 Million to the account of Kadair Investment Ltd. and that transaction was documented in an inspection performed at Credicorp Bank.

It adds that the information provided by Switzerland points out that, in order to justify the company Fordel, and Los Andes, S.A., the brothers presented two certificates according to which they control 75% of the shares and Riccardo Francolini – in detention the case of the Savings Bank – the remaining 25%

Switzerland considers that these certificates are not true and were intended to conceal the bribes paid by Odebrecht.

According to the prosecution, the precautionary measure of detention is the most suitable to comply with the process, since the crime that is imputed to them “Is difficult to investigate, as it is deep in  the heart of national and international society”.

The prosecutor points  out that the accused have not appeared in the process, “remaining in danger of flight, especially since it is a public and notorious fact that the accused have the resources to provide the means of evading criminal justice given the  seriousness of the position they face. ”

The defense of the brothers has  presented habeas corpus remedies before the Supreme Court which are in the office of Judge Luis Ramón Fábrega.

In a notarized  statement issued last month in Miami,  the Martinelli brothers denied links to Odebrecht.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/interpol-red-alert-called-martinelli-sons

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Martinelli era construction projects halted

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Unfinished cold storage

WORK  has stopped  on multiple projects by a consortium  much favored  by the Martinelli administration and now mired in corruption investigations.

A lack of liquidity of HPC Contratas­ P&V has caused a chain of defaults in the delivery of state projects.

The consortium was awarded contracts for the construction of agricultural markets as part of the much touted Martinelli national cold chain project. It also received contracts to build health centers in Chepo and Colon.

This was in addition to the failed attempt to build a convention center in Amador, a project that is under criminal investigation with key figures of the state owns Caja de Ahorros in detention.

The consortium, made up of the companies Hispano Panameña de Construcciones, S.A. (HPC), Contratas Iglesias, Constructora P & V and Soluciones Arquitectónica Ingeniería y Construcciones (Sicsa), stopped work on the agricultural markets, arguing that it is facing liquidity problems due to the lack of payments by the state.

But records show that the company used payments for that project to cancel other debts. The state has paid $9.9 million for the agricultural projects.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/martinelli-era-construction-projects-halted

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