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Odebrecht ‘paid ex-president’s sons $49 mln’
November 11, 2017
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PANAMA CITY: Two sons of former President Ricardo Martinelli are suspected of receiving more than $50 million in “undue payments” from a Brazilian construction giant at the centre of an international bribe scandal, Panamanian prosecutors said on Thursday.

The Attorney General’s Office alleged in a statement that there were several multimillion-dollar transfers to Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enriquez Martinelli through accounts in Panama and abroad in 2010-2014.

It said the allegations are based on information from a cooperating witness in the investigation: Andre Campos Rabello, the former Panama manager for Brazil’s Odebrecht.

The family has denied involvement by the sons in the bribery scandal and alleges persecution by political foes.

The former president, who also denies any wrongdoing, is currently detained in the United States facing possible extradition to Panama on charges of embezzlement and political espionage.

Meanwhile, Peru’s opposition-ruled Congress voted 55-21 late on Thursday to pass legislation that expands a raft of new financial restrictions to the local partners of Odebrecht.

If signed by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, the law would deliver a fresh blow to Peru’s biggest construction group, Grana y Montero.

Odebrecht has acknowledged paying nearly $800 million dollars in bribes in a dozen Latin American nations in return for favors and works contracts.

That includes at least $59 million in Panama, although authorities say the real figure is likely much higher. The scandal has already implicated former government ministers under the elder Martinelli as well as people linked to the party of current President Juan Carlos Varela.

Reports of the sons’ alleged involvement circulated in Panamanian media before Thursday, but this was the first word from judicial authorities.

The revelations came out of a hearing in which a judge approved a cooperation deal with Rabello and two other former Odebrecht executives.

Agencies

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