Never gets old and never stops pissing me off.
“The Panamanian Party in its report of 2009, 2014, and 2019, said it had not received money from Odebrecht, nor from any of the Odebrecht-related companies, such as the International Construction Company of the South.”
The phrase is from José Isabel Blandón, president of the Panamanian Party, former mayor of Panama (2014-2019), and who served as the presidential candidate of that political group in the 2019 elections.
In an interview on Telemetro , Blandón explained that all parties must submit to the Electoral Tribunal (TE) reports on the use of electoral subsidy resources, and donations they receive in the campaign. He added that candidates, on the other hand, should also do the same. “That differentiation is important because I set an example, in the last election, as a presidential candidate the regulations require opening an account in my name,” said the politician.
Blandón, who last year took control of the collective from the Varela brothers (José Luis Varela, former deputy; and Juan Carlos Varela, former president of the Republic) asked the TE to certify if the group he directs received donations from the Brazilian construction company .
In a letter that the politician published on his Twitter account, he requested the bank accounts opened by the party for private contributions and reported to the Electoral Court from January 2006 to December 31, 2019.
He also requested a copy of the detailed reports duly certified by an authorized public accountant, detailing the income and expenses of the private contributions received by the group during that period.
And finally, if between January 2006 until December 31, 2019, there is any record of private donations received by the Panamanian Party of the Odebrecht Latin Finance SARL companies, Panama branch; Constructora Norberto Odebrecht de Panamá SA, Oebrecht Latinvest SA, Odebrecht Engenharia e Construcao Internationl SA and Constructora Internacional del Sur SA
Varela and donations
On November 9, 2017, the then president Juan Carlos Varela assured that his campaign of vice president in 2009, received help from a person linked to Odebrecht. “These grants were reported to the Electoral Tribunal,” he said.
Varela’s words came after the investigation of the former ambassador of Panama in South Korea Jaime Lasso, who confessed to the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office that André Rabello – former Superintendent of Odebrecht in Panama – made $ 700,000 in the Don James Foundation was made public , who went to the Panamanian party for the Juan Carlos Varela campaign in 2009.
However, it was later learned that the construction company would have brought at least $ 10 million to the party, through companies linked to Lasso.
Lasso before the prosecution
In his inquiries of February 13 and 17, Lasso told the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office that the case is being taken, that both former President Juan Carlos Varela and Popi Varela himself knew that Odebrecht – confesses to paying bribes in Panama in exchange for contracts with the State – contributed funds to the Panamanian party campaign from 2009 and at least until 2012.
The money would have been used in the campaigns of the Panamanian Party of 2009 and 2014. In 2009, the collective agreed to an alliance with Democratic Change and Juan Carlos Varela reached the Vice Presidency. In 2014, he won the Presidency of the Republic.
This was made known by Lasso, ex-consul in South Korea and self-styled “lobbyist” of Odebrecht in Panama, when filing an investigative statement on February 13 and 17 before the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, which is on the trail of bribes paid by the company Brazilian in the country. The prosecution investigates Lasso for the alleged commission of the crime of money laundering.
“I was the person who participated as a link to the electoral political support from 2009 to December 2012. In the following years I have no idea if the support was continued,” he confessed.
It remains to be seen then in what is the accounting of the presidential candidate in 2014, and candidate in 2009 if they reported any donation from Odebrecht.