Israeli espionage equipment acquired by the government of Ricardo Martinelli in mid-2010 for $13.5 million was worth only $2 million, said sources of the Security Council, which is investigating the purchase and subsequent disappearance of the equipment.
According to the source, the Israeli company MLM Protection, which provided the equipment, charged the government 575 percent, or $11.5 million, more than it was worth. The equipment was purchased through the National Assistance Program (PAN).
"The equipent was sold by the manufacturer to the supplier at the market price, and then the Israeli supplier sold it to the PAN at the inflated price," said the source.
The equipment consisted of three systems that allowed their operators to infiltrate computers, telephone networks and capture personal conversations. Demetrio Papadimitriu, Minister of the Presidency at the time, confirmed that the equipment worked and that it was used.
This was denied by former directors of the Security Council, Alfaro Olmedo, Gustavo Pérez, Alejandro Garuz, and Julio Moltó, who insisted that they did not have any involvement in spying.
Later on, sources said, the Martinelli administration acquired a new espionaje system that targeted cell phones, allowing users to not only listen to conversations, but to track the movements of persons and to use the cell phones as listening devices. It could also access all files on the targeted phone.
The cost of the equipment is unknown, since the only evidence of its existence are several hundred pages of transcripts of conversations that were recorded using the equipment. There are no documents that support its purchase and it has also gone missing.
The documents did reveal that victims of this spying included diplomats from the United States.
Use of the equipment appears to have violated Article 167 of the Constitution, which prohibits the interception of phone calls without a judicial order.