JUDICIAL AFFAIRS

Lavítola defends Agafea commission

The company was allegedly used to funnel a bribe by an Italian contractor to Panama officials.

Ricardo Martinelli, en la voz de Lavítola

Temas:

Statements before judges in Rome by Valter Lavítola Tuesday sought to distance the defendant from the company Agafea Corp., which received a 10 percent commission as part of the $250 million defense contract between Panama and Italian defense contractor Finmeccanica.

Prosecutors have described that payment as a bribe orchestrated by Lavitola, but he has classified it as a sales Commission.

Prosecutor Paolo Ielo put into evidence the false nature of the consulting contract between Agafea and Finmeccanica, questioning why "a contract would have such an onerous 18 million euro fee."

Lavitola said that Agafea served as Finmeccanica's resident agent in that country, but the prosecutor replied that that clashed with the reality, as the three subsidiaries of Finmeccanica already had a resident agent, the Panamanian lawyer Marleni Paolo, representing them in Panama.

"There is evidence that much of the international corruption is forged through fictitious consulting contracts," Ielo said.

SHARED INTERESTS

Lavitola, at the same time, tried to deny his ties with Agafea and any relationship between this society and former President Ricardo Martinelli. However, the prosecutor cited recorded conversations in which Lavitola tells Finmeccanica Commercial Director Paolo Pozzessere in July 2011 that the former president owns 35 percent of Agafea.

In that conversation Lavitola also admitted to having an interest in Agafea Corp. 

Agafea's president is Karen de Gracia, who has been linked romantically to Lavitola.

Ricardo Martinelli, en la voz de Lavítola

En la audiencia del pasado martes, quedó en evidencia una vez más el fuerte vínculo que une a Valter Lavítola con Ricardo Martinelli:

—Fiscal: ¿Hay alguna conexión entre Agafia y Martinelli?

—Lavítola: No, absolutamente no. Es más, al contrario. Tuve ocasión de hablar con Martinelli más de una vez… Él se comparaba con [Silvio] Berlusconi constantemente… No quería que sus hijos hicieran actividades políticas y me advirtió de que si alguien me hubiera pedido coimas o algo fuera de lo oficial, que nunca lo hablara con él.



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