On the fourth day of the reading of the tax hearing in the preliminary hearing for the Odebrech case, the breakdown of the millionaire amounts paid in bribes by the Brazilian company to various state ministers and other high-ranking officials during Ricardo’s government administration was revealed. Martinelli, through various companies.
The reading of the tax hearing focused on the analysis of crimes against the public administration, donations to political campaigns and the use of the Panamanian financial system to pay bribes to former ministers, through figureheads with the creation of corporations.
André Ravello, managing director of Odebrecht, in his confession pointed out that the bribes paid to officials were to resolve in a timely manner the administrative procedures for the final payment of the projects executed by the company.
Ravello also established that the former Minister of Public Works Jaime Ford had contacted him and presented him with a project to build a hydroelectric plant, which was being carried out by Jorge Espino, the alleged figurehead of the former official.
Rabello explained that although they were not interested in this project, Odebrecht gave an advance of $1.8 million in an account indicated by Espino in Andorra.
According to Ravello, the payment was accepted because it was a request from the then Minister of Public Works because they wanted to maintain that approach, since they had several projects in that institution and they did not want the works or pending payments to be delayed due to the transition. government in 2014.
The Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office reported that entities such as the Ministry of Public Works (MOP), the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) and the Ministry of the Presidency were the most affected by crimes against public administration, during the period 2009 to 2012 and he pointed to the ministers who ran those entities at the time.
“The public servants subject to this investigation benefited from funds from the Odebrecht black box, which they received from personal accounts or through other people for carrying out acts due to their position,” the prosecution said.
In the MOP, projects such as the coastal strip 3, the renovation of the Historical Heritage, the renovation of Domingo Díaz avenue, via Brasil section 1 and 2 and the highway to Colón were being executed at that time; While in the Ministry of the Presidency the development of the project for line 1 of the Panama Metro was closely managed.
It was also pointed out that open sources and judicial information sent by Brazil, the United States and Andorra provided financing for the campaign of José Domingo Arias, who was a candidate for the Presidency of the Republic in 2014 with the Cambio Democrático (CD) party . .
These payments were made by Odebrecht, using different structures, until they reached the accounts managed by John Santana and Mónica Moura Counha, both advertisers hired by the then ruling party.
The Superior Anti-Corruption Prosecutor, Ruth Morcillo, described the day as “productive”, after pointing out that in the advance of the reading of the fiscal hearing it was possible to know about the cost overruns, where three and up to five times more than what was actually paid. some elements of a state project cost and, in the end, the work was not carried out.
“The Panamanian State paid for nothing, but it was necessary to be able to make up for the payment of bribes,” he said.
He stressed that the tax hearing narrates and supports the work carried out, “indicates whether an official or former public servant was linked, the reasons, how it is verified that he commits these punishable acts and the evidence we have in the file,” he stressed.
It was pointed out in part of the tax hearing that after the completion of some works, Odebrecht scheduled other economic amounts charged to the State, which were not those that had been executed.
By André Rabello’s own confession, it is established that the Aeon Group company, among others, was used as part of that bribery payment scheme through the Odebrecht Structured Operations Department.
Reference was also made to payments made through the Andorran bank to relatives of the former Minister of the Presidency Demetrio Papadimitriu.
Ortiz denounces bias in the reading of the tax hearing
During one of the recesses, Roniel Ortiz, who is part of former President Martinelli’s team of lawyers, pointed out to Judge Baloisa Marquínez that he wanted to make a biased reading of the prosecutor’s hearing.
“Let Panama and the world know who stole the alleged money from Odebrecht […] all of Panama and the world must know who is involved and why other people are not in this process. That is what the manipulative, corrupt and arbitrary judge is doing in this hearing.”
The reading of the tax hearing advanced yesterday to page 651 of the 810 that the document contains.