Martinelli's link to hydro company investigated

While in office, the former president denied any links to hydro projects.


Four companies related to former President Ricardo Martinelli and his sons, Luis Enrique and Ricardo Alberto, appear as "shareholders" of Corporación de Energía del Istmo Ltd., the company which requested a "syndicated loan" from four local banks of $81 million to build two hydroelectric power plants in Veraguas.

According to the loan papers, the companies that control the shares of the hydroelectric firm are Eagle Eyes Developments, Inc., Desarrollos Poseidón, S.A., Inversiones Uakari, S.A. and Desarrollos Multifuncionales, S.A. All were created by the law firm Veleiro, Mihalitsianos & De La Espriella, whose lawyers are friends with the former president's sons.

A fifth company, Stablemates Inc. is also listed in the loan papers. Its beneficial owner is Navin Bhakta, and he is listed as controlling 45 percent of Corporación de Energía del Istmo.

The manager of the company is Alejandro Garuz Adames, a son of the former National Security Council Secretary Alejandro Garuz and brother-in-law of Luis Enrique.

To guarantee the loan, Corporación de Energía del Istmo put up more than 100 properties located in Veraguas, purchased between 2013 and 2014. 

One of these farms belonged to Reforestadora Cañazas, S.A. whose directors include Ulises Dioger González, father of former Immigration Director María Cristina González and an employee of Martinelli.

Reforestadora Cañazas, S.A. is, in turn, developing another hydroelectric project, La Laguna, on the San Pablo River in Veraguas, in the same area where Corporación de Energía del Istmo planned their projects.

The physical address of Reforestadora Cañazas is Ricamar, S.A., which is owned by Martinelli and which controls his supermarket Super 99.

While in office, Martinelli repeatedly denied having any links to hydroelectric projects.

However, this latest information has prompted the Public Prosecutor's Office to open an inquiry into the matter, since the former president could have used privileged information to give his company an advantage.



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