Ramón Fonseca, Jürgen Mossack questioned by prosecutors

Prior to being questioned, Fonseca implicated President Juan Carlos Varela in Odebrecht case.


Jürgen Mossack (left) and Ramón Fonseca, on their way to being questioned today. Jürgen Mossack (left) and Ramón Fonseca, on their way to being questioned today. Expandir Imagen
Jürgen Mossack (left) and Ramón Fonseca, on their way to being questioned today. LA PRENSA/Isaac Ortega
Ramón Fonseca and Jürgen Mossack, founding partners of the Mossack Fonseca law firm, were questioned today by the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office as part of the investigation into alleged irregular activities in Brazil.

Fonseca arrived at the Avesa building, which is also the headquarters of the anti-corruption prosecutor, at 3:30 p.m., shortly before Mossack.

Upon arrival, the senior Panameñista official addressed his counterpart, President Juan Carlos Varela, saying he also had improper ties to the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, which is charged with bribing officials in a dozen countries.

Comunicado de Mossack Fonseca Expandir Imagen
Comunicado de Mossack Fonseca
He alleged that the bribes distributed by Odebrecht in Panama go well beyond the $59 million the firm confessed to US authorities in December. He calculated that if Odebrecht obtained contracts in Panama for more than $9 billion, then the bribes that were distributed were "for a billion."

"We have not really investigated here - except for Mossack Fonseca, who has nothing to do with it," He said.

In an animated display, Fonseca said he knew Varela accepted campaign contributions from Odebrecht. He also said that he has repeatedly called for the investigation of the Cinta Costera III project, which was completed by Odebrecht during the administration of Ricardo Martinelli.

"As far as President Varela, God put him in that position to fix things, to fix the institutions of the country," he said.

Deputy Luis Varela, the brother of the president, said that his brother will give a statement in the Presidency of the Republic in the next few hours.

Mossack Fonseca is the subject of another investigation, by the Second Prosecutor against Organized Crime, for the alleged commission of crimes against the economic order.

This was prompted by an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which outlined the firm's practices in structuring offshore companies that in some cases were used to hide fortunes, evade taxes or launder maney.

In a statement issued Thursday, the firm said that all these actions are carried out "to divert attention" from the Odebrecht investigation and its possible link to the current government.

Rolando Rodríguez Cedeño, secretary of the Attorney General's Office, avoided giving details of the proceedings.

"But I have full confidence and certainty that an objective and transparent investigation is being carried out," he said.
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