ODEBRECHT update: Request denied to annul investigation into Deputy of the MEF
- By : Panama Now
- Category : Crime, Legal
The 12th Criminal Court rejected an incident of prior and special pronouncement presented by the defense of the former Minister of Economy and Finance (MEF) Frank De Lima against the order of inquiry issued on September 1, 2017 by the Special Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office in the investigation for the Odebrecht bribes.
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In a ruling dated January 17, 2019, the twelfth criminal judge, Óscar Carrasquilla , dismissed the appeal filed by the lawyer Roberto Ruiz Díaz, on behalf of De Lima, arguing that the evidence provided in the investigation they point to the possible commission of a crime of money laundering.
In the ruling, Carrasquilla states that he can not access the appeal because his office can not interfere in the investigative work carried out by the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
He explains that the prosecutor’s office links De Lima to the commission of the crime of money laundering due to the fact that the ex-official served as the head of the MEF during the period being investigated, a charge that – says the training agency – used to benefit the Odebrecht company in tenders with the Government in exchange for the payment of bribes.
The prosecution provided the testimony of Olmedo Méndez, who, after an agreement of punishment and collaboration agreed with the MP, associated De Lima with monies received by the company Ralford Limited by the Aeon Group. Méndez confessed to being a figurehead of De Lima.
This last company was part of the paper companies controlled by Odebrecht’s Department of Structured Operations, destined to pay bribes abroad.
He also contributed the testimony of José Luis Saiz, who, in his agreements of punishment and collaboration with the MP, linked the former minister with money from Herzone Overseas Ltd., linked to Odebrecht. Saiz, after the agreement with the prosecution, returned $ 750,000 of the bribes.
Andrés Mozes Libedinsky is also indicated by the prosecution as one of the frontmen used by De Lima to move large sums of money, allegedly related to Odebrecht.
In the effective collaboration agreements reached by Odebrecht executives and approved by the 12th Criminal Court, it is established that Libedinsky received $ 3 million 50 thousand, from November 2013 to April 2014, from companies linked to Odebrecht.