Panama Police Arrest Attorney Linked to Former President Martinelli’s Children in Odebrecht Scandal
Panamanian lawyer Evelyn Vargas was detained and given a pre-trial after appearing before the country’s Special Anti-corruption Office.
Near midnight, Vargas was sent to a jail cell after testifying for more than eight hours. The defendant was on Interpol‘s red alert and arrived in Panama from Mexico after the International Police of both countries were able to coordinate on the operation.
Vargas is accused of money laundering due to ties to several companies in which Martinelli’s children, Ricardo and Luis Enrique, allegedly received possible bribes from Odebrecht. Vargas was an employee of Ricamar, which is owned by former President Martinelli, according to Rene Rodriguez, one of Vargas’ lawyers.
Her court appearance comes one day after Panama’s Chief Prosecutor Kenia Porcell gave an ultimatum to those implicated in the scandal to provide information before June 1 should they have any chance of benefitting from penalty reductions.
According to US Department of Justice officials, Odebrecht paid more than US $59 million in bribes in Panama between 2010 and 2014.
So far, Panama officials have carried out six investigations linked to commissions paid by the company.
In another case, there are 17 defendants — including Martinelli’s children — with Interpol arrest warrants related to €20 million in bribes.
Brothers Luis Enrique and Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares have been summoned by the Prosecutor’s Office for alleged crime-related bribes from the Brazilian company, according to judicial assistance Brazil and Switzerland officials provided to the Public Ministry.
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According to the prosecution, there were three joint-stock companies in which Martinelli’s children were listed as beneficiaries and for which they received million of dollars between 2009 and 2012: Fordel International Ltd, with jurisdiction in the Bahamas, Aragon Finance Corp and Kadair Investment Ltd (Kadair).
The transfers were made through several offshore companies that Odebrecht used to make illegal payments to public officials around the world.
According to the inquiries, Martinelli received a total of US $8.76 million in the Kadair account and EUR €12.3 million in Aragon Finance Corp and Fordel International.
Source: La Patilla