Former Panamanian president linked to Odebrecht bribes

In the arguments phase of the prosecution, the lawyer Mahmad Daud Hasan argued that Varela received a large amount of money as a result of bribes from box two of the Brazilian construction company, that is, illicit money, he said.

In the investigation into the largest robbery of public funds in the history of the isthmus, according to the prosecutor, the former president’s attitude, in addition to being shameful, represents an act that attacks all Panamanians and decent citizens of this country.

He also asked that Jaime Lasso, identified as an intermediary between Odebrecht and the Paname├▒ista Party, and his daughter Michelle Lasso be called to trial.

Daud Hasan maintained that both, father and daughter, through provided companies, made payments to benefit Varela, and considered their participation in the scheme crucial to channel the bribery scheme.

He also assured that Odebrecht “wanted to have access to power, it was not content with having the works” and that for this reason it paid bribes and bribes left and right, to presidents of the Republic, vice presidents, ministers of State and even amounts at election time.

It was a package tailored to the highest level of corruption ever seen in Panama and the region, in which the former president of the republic, Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014), is also involved, according to the evidence.

The preliminary hearing for the Odebrecht case continued this Tuesday on its seventh day with the reading of prosecutors’ allegations and the defense of some 50 defendants in the crime of money laundering.

The trial for the largest corruption scandal on the continent, according to analysts, was characterized in the first week by the reading of 813 pages of the investigation, reopened here in 2017.

Odebrecht admitted to the United States authorities to have paid millions in bribes in a dozen countries, almost all in Africa and Latin America, for which a fine of two thousand 600 million dollars was imposed.

In Panama, the company and the Prosecutor’s Office agreed in 2017 that the company would pay the State some 220 million dollars over a period of 12 years.

jha/ga

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