INTERNATIONAL

Odebrecht pressured Panama

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André Rabello. André Rabello. Expandir Imagen
André Rabello. LA PRENSA/Archivo

An informant in Brazil revealed that Andre Rabello, Odebrecht's superintendent in Panama, pressured the president of Panama in 2014 not to send information requested by Brazilian prosecutors. 

Although he did not mention his name, President Juan Carlos Varela said yesterday: "I have shown clear with my actions of respect for the independence of the powers and the strengthening of the institutionality of the country."

Varela came to power in mid-2014. He replaced Ricardo Marinelli. Odebrecht officials in December admitted to paying $59 million in bribes to officials in Panama between 2010 and 2014, which coincided with the mandate of Martinelli.

The revelations came during the testimony of Odebrecht official Fernando Migliaccio before prosecutors working on the Lava Jato investigation. He said that another official, Luiz Eduardo Soares, was tasked with pressuring Panama officials to refuse to cooperate with Brazilian prosecutors, and coordinated these efforts with Rabello.

Brazilian prosecutors were seeking information on a Panama company owned by Odebrecht that was used to funnel money to politicians in a dozen countries in exchange for contracts. Panama refused to cooperate for a considerable length of time, extending into the mandate of Varela, but eventually provided the information that had been requested.

Panama has since been cooperating with prosecutors in Brazil and Switzerland to investigate the $59 million in bribes, which have allegedly been connected to the family of Martinelli.

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