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2 new defendants join ex-presidents in Odebrecht money probe

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Ex-presidenta Martinelli and Varela are defendants in money laundering probe

Posted 18/09/2020

The Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office has ordered the investigation of two new people linked to the   Odebrecht bribery investigation

While orders to appear have already been issued, no names were revealed on Friday morning, September 18.

The investigation involving at least $90 million in bribes began in Panama in 2015 but was interrupted the following year when Odebrecht signed an admission agreement with the United States Department of Justice.

Then the process had several delays due to the international judicial assistance requested by the

Prosecutor's Office and due to the legal stalling moves by the accused. The deadline for the prosecution's investigation to conclude is in October.

The Brazilian construction company obtained multi-billion contracts in the governments of Martín Torrijos (2004-2009), Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014), and Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019).

Only Varela and Martinelli are charged in the case.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/2-new-defendants-join-ex-presidents-in-odebrecht-money-probe

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More defendants in multi-millions bribery scandal as clock running out

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Posted 07/10/2020

As the clock ticks down to the final week of the multi-million dollar Odebrecht  bribery case special anti-corruption  prosecutor Ruth Morcillo, has announced  that  an additional group of  defendants is under investigation while  she and her partner Adecio Mojica, complained about the judicial delays to resolve appeals and set hearing dates.

in an interview with  TVN program Mesa de Periodistas . Although she did not mention names, the prosecutor reported that they are individuals linked to the payments made through the so-called Caja Dos de Odebrecht , a division created by the Brazilian construction company to pay bribes, and  hidden financing  of political parties.

The Odebrecht case, considered an emblematic process of corruption, closes on October 14. From that moment on, the prosecution must draw up the tax hearing, a document that will then be sent to the Judicial Branch.

Until a few days ago, there were 88 defendants in this case, but Attorney General Eduardo Ulloa recently said that it  could close with more than 90 defendants. The defendants include two former presidents Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) and Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019).

Mojica said  that there are files that have been delivered more than 10 years ago and have not been resolved. One such case is known as “fiberglass”, which tracks alleged irregularities in the execution of fiberglass removal work in public schools. That investigation began on August 26, 2009, and to date there have been no convictions.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/more-defendants-in-multi-millions-bribery-scandal-as-clock-running-out-1

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Panama banker questioned for 9 hours in laundering probe

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Posted 09/10/2020

Prominent  Panama banker Juan Antonio Niño was questioned by anti-corruption prosecutors for nine hours on Thursday, October 8 as part of the investigation into the bribes paid by the Odebrecht company.

Niño attended the interrogation, seven months after his first summons to the investigative office  which  was rescheduled due to the pandemic, and after availing himself of his right not to testify against himself,

The prosecution is investigating Niño for alleged money laundering.

he banker had been granted a release bond of $800,000, and cannot leave the country without judicial authorization.

Niño is the brother-in-law of the wife of former deputy José Luis  Popi  Varela, brother of former president Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019) nut originally said he had no ties ro the family. The former president is also accused in the Odebrecht case and cannot leave the country.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/panama-banker-questioned-for-9-hours-in-laundering-probe

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OPINION: Battling to avoid monumental escape

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The Supreme Court

Posted 13/10/2020

The investigations into the Odebrecht case culminate this week, after months of investigations that probably end up incomplete, given its complexity. Prosecutors have done their work in a hostile environment, with frontal media attacks, both from those involved and from politicians who intend to bury the case under a pile of formalities that seek not to get to the bottom, that the denunciations are discarded, as well as the bank pieces of evidence. But, beyond all this, it has become clear that our criminal legislation is undermined, made so that the slightest error on the part of the parties serves to annul complete investigations, when what is possible are less severe solutions, such as corrections. Both the Public Ministry and the Judicial Branch have legislative initiative that could pave the way to make judicial processes less formal and provide greater procedural guarantees to do true justice. The Public Ministry will now have to prepare a tax hearing in this case. He wants dozens of defendants to be prosecuted in an emblematic and very high-profile case. If there is merit to call a trial, the fate of the process will be in the hands of the Judicial Branch, which will have one of its hardest tests.- LA PRENSA. Oct. 13

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/opinion/opinion-battling-to-avoid-monumental-escape-1

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3 “sick” women  and more dodge bullet in $100 million bribery  probe

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Posted 15/10/2020

The investigation phase of the five year long  Odebrecht  $100 million bribery case ended Wednesday, October 15 without the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office completing all the investigations allowing multiple suspects to dodge justice as the clock ran out.

For example, reports La Prensa, three women linked to the investigation during the reign of Ricardo Martinelli could not be questioned because they presented certificates of medical incapacity a tactic that Martinelli himself used in  July to avoid appearing. Another person did not appear when called for questioning.

The case also closed without the Supreme Court deciding three guarantees. One was filed by former President Juan Carlos Varela, another by the Ecuadorian citizen Freddy Barco Vera, and the third was filed in November 2018  by Juan Carlos Espinosa's lawyer.

Delaying tactics
There are also 40 appeals filed before the Twelfth Criminal Court, but after their liquidation, they must be resolved by the Third Settlement Court, led by Judge Baloisa Marquínez. This office must also resolve another 20 appeals processed by the Second Superior Court. The Judicial Code indicates that the prosecution will have an additional day for every 50 pages that the file contains to submit its l hearing and the investigation, until a few days ago, amounted to 1,150 volumes.

The team of prosecutors who must work on the indictments are Tania Sterling, Ruth Morcillo, Anilú Batista and Azucena Aizprúa. The last two joined the team last February after the arrival of the new attorney, Eduardo Ulloa. While Zuleyka Moore, who coordinated the case, was moved to a prosecution post in La Chorrera in May.

During the investigation, the prosecutors reached 11 effective collaboration agreements and penalties. At least 127 international assists were received.

The case began in 2015, after former comptroller Alvin Weeden denounced the payment of bribes from the construction company in Panama. However, it was on hiatus for several months and did not take flight until December 2016 when it became known, via the United States, that the construction company had paid bribes in various countries. In Panama alone, it was revealed at the time, it had distributed $59 million. The figure was small. In December 2018, the Public Ministry revealed that the company had paid more than $100 million in bribes.

The case began in 2015, after former comptroller Alvin Weeden denounced the payment of bribes from the construction company in Panama. However, it was on hiatus for several months, and did not take flight until December 2016 when it became known, via the United States, that the construction company had paid bribes in various countries. In Panama alone, it was revealed it had distributed $59 million. The figure was small. In December 2018, the Public Ministry reported that the company had paid more than $100 million in local bribes.

Slap in the face
Law professor , Miguel Antonio Bernal describes the  investigation as a slap in the face for the Panamanian people. “The Public Ministry has been protecting, covering up and benefiting Odebrecht, its bribes for five years. "The bribes are embedded in the structure of the Panamanian state," he said.

Political scientist Richard Morales maintains that it is a chain of complicity that involves traditional political parties, businessmen, banks, law firms, and construction companies. "In other countries they have been condemned," he said.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/3-sick-women-and-more-dodge-bullet-in-100-million-bribery-probe-1

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Las donaciones envenenadas

En la jurisdicción electoral las donaciones que dio Odebrecht a partidos y candidatos pasaron sin pena ni gloria. Hasta ahora no se conocen procesos o sanciones por el tema.
 
Eliana Morales Gil
19 oct 2020 - 12:00 AM

https://www.prensa.com/impresa/panorama/las-donaciones-envenenadas/

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El caso Odebrecht cerró con 102 investigados

De acuerdo con el Procurador, se firmaron 18 acuerdos de colaboración y de pena, con al menos 10 condenas. Se han recuperado $227 millones.
 
Eliana Morales Gil
20 oct 2020 - 12:00 AM

https://www.prensa.com/impresa/panorama/el-caso-odebrecht-cerro-con-102-investigados/

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