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      The Boquete Feria de Las Flores y del Café   01/12/2017

      The Boquete Feria de Las Flores y del Café begins Thursday, January 12th and runs until Sunday, January 22nd. For those who have not yet seen -- and experienced -- this magnificent fair, you are in for a treat, and some inconveniences. Most importantly, you must see all of the flowers and the tiendas at and around the Fair Grounds here in Boquete.  During these eleven days you also need to be extremely careful, especially while driving and in planning your activities. In recent years there have been well in excess of 100,000 visitors to Boquete. Last year that number was closer to 200,000, and some predictions for 2017's Fair are closer to 300,000 people coming to our area to see the Fair. Traffic congestion will be the norm. Getting seats in restaurants will be difficult at times. Parking spaces will essentially be nonexistent. Buying groceries may be difficult and time consuming. Busses will be parked on the side streets, making driving difficult. There will be lots (as in LOTS) of people walking, standing around the bridge and the Feria and the many tiendas (small shops and stands [kiosks]) while taking pictures, talking, viewing the scenery, etc. Please be extremely attentive while driving, and drive slowly. Some streets will be blocked and require passes to use them. Other streets will simply be blocked based on congestion. Please be careful of your personal items, such as purses and wallets. Having so many people in one area creates a prime target for pickpockets and other maliantes to do their thing. To repeat, most importantly, you must see all of the flowers and the tiendas at and around the Fair Grounds here in Boquete.  Three closing thoughts. First: enjoy. Second: be safe. Third: you might wish to post your pictures, comments, reviews, etc., here on CL (start a topic or reply to an existing topic in http://www.chiriqui.life/forum/118-boquete-feria-de-las-flores-y-del-café/).   To provide general feedback or ask for help regarding Chiriqui.Life, please leave a posting in Problems, Feedback and Suggestions or email support@chiriqui.life or private message to @Admin_01.
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Odebrecht Corruption and Fraud Investigations / Prosecutions

36 posts in this topic

The above postings related to the Odebrecht corruption and fraud investigation and prosecution now warrant a separate topic of their own. These postings were split out from the "miscellaneous fraud and corruption" topic and placed in this topic that is specific to Odebrecht.

As of today, CL now has three topics related to corruption and fraud:



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Odebrecht asked to cancel Panama contracts

Posted on January 4, 2017 in Panama

Metro line 2 a work in progress
Post Views: 149

THE ODEBRECHT construction company should renounce its $2.6 billion contracts with Panama’s  Government  and transfer them to other contractors says National Assembly President Rubén De León.

He said on Wednesday, Dec 4 that “the most prudent thing” is for the Brazilian company to stop building in Panama and transfer the contracts.

“I believe that in Odebrecht, of its own volition  and for the health of the country, should deliver or rescind the contracts it has with the state,” De León said in a televised interview.

Embroiled  in a major corruption scandal, the company admitted to US authorities  in December that it paid $59 million in bribes to senior Panamanian officials between 2010 and 2014 during the Ricardo Martinelli administration.

Under the Varela government  it has received the contracts for Metro Line 2,a redevelopment project in Colon and a new terminal at Tocumen International Panama City granted the company a  contract to rebuild a large section of Via Espana leading to Plaza Cinco de Mayo.

Morality issue
De León said that while it is true that the construction of works in the country cannot be stopped, there is “a morality issue in the background.”

The PRD member also called on the judicial authorities to expedite the investigations into the bribes, as thescandal cannot remain “only as stories we see in the newspapers.”

“There has to be some kind of sanction,” he said.

In 10 years and during three different government administrations, the Brazilian construction company obtained contracts individually or in consortium with other companies totaling some $9.2 billion.

Current deals
These include $2.6 billion in contracts awarded during the current government which has now said that Odebrecht cannot be on the list of bidders for projects like the fourth canal bridge and Metro Line 3.



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Panama judge re-opens Odebreccht criminal probe

Posted on January 10, 2017 in Panama

Post Views: 82

A CRIMINAL  investigation into the Panama operation of Brazilian   construction company Odebrecht has been re-opened by a Panama judge.

In a ruling signed December  22 and released this week, Oscar Carrasquilla, the 12th criminal judge of the First Judicial Circuit, said that there are sufficient merits to reopen the process, for the possible commission of crimes against economic order. and that the company could also be committing the “crime of money laundering, due to the facts related to the Lava Jato investigation, which began in Brazil.”

The ruling was signed the same day that the company admitted to paying bribes of at least $59 million to Panamanian officials between 2010 and 2014.

The judge’s decision was based on a request from the Seventh Anti­Corruption Prosecutor’s Office on Nov. 11 to reopen the process.

The original complaint that accused Odebrecht of laundering money through the Panamanian banking system. was filed in September 2015.



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Bribery money of “very high profile” people seized in Swiss banks

Posted on January 13, 2017 in Panama

Post Views: 119

MONEY of four “very high profile” people  under investigation in the Odebrecht bribery scandal has been seized in Swiss banks.

The announcement came on Friday Jan,13 from  Attorney General Secretary Rolando Rodríguez Cedeño

The Panamanians are being investigated as part of the probe into $59 million in bribes paid by the Odebrecht Construction company in exchange for public infrastructure contracts between 2009 and 2014 when ex-president Ricardo Martinelli was in office.

Rodríguez said that “money  in Swiss banks” belonging to these individuals has been seized.

He did not reveal their names. He said they were both directly and indirectly involved in the scheme.

On Thursday, Attorney General Kenia Porcell announced that Odebrecht had promised to pay $59 million in damages to Panama.

Rodríguez asked people to have patience with the investigation. “We do not want a weak investigation. Once we begin to adopt the measures within the the investigation, the citizens will know the results and the names of the people. We will also demand the money from them.

These are people of very high profile,” he said..



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Names involved in bribery scandal will be revealed

Posted on January 13, 2017 in Panama

Post Views: 74

THERE WILL BE no pact between Panama’s political parties to hide the names of officials and politician involved in the Odebrecht bribery scandal says deputy,  and  president of the ruling Panamenista  Party, José Luis Varela.,

He said on TVN, on Friday Jan. 13, that  he is confident that as the Public Ministry’s investigation continues, the identity of the people involved will be revealed  “And they will suffer the full weight of the law.”

The brother of President Juan Carlos Varela,  ruled out a pact between the parties Panameñista, Cambio Democratico CD and the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) to hinder research and to keep hidden the identity of officials who received bribes from the construction giant.

“I do not understand how you can speak prematurely that there are pacts between three parties  and agreements to see how it can be covered up. There is information that is in The Justice Department of the United States, Switzerland and Brazil. How can it be hidden?”  he said

Odebrecht  has promised to provide $59 million to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, an amount equal to the bribes that the Brazilian company admitted having delivered to Panamanian officials in the Ricardo Martinelli years 2009 -2014, in exchange for public infrastructure contracts.

The information was released on Thursday, January 12 by the attorney general, Kenia Porcell.



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Protesters demand Odebrecht scandal names

Posted on January 17, 2017 in Panama

Post Views: 91

CONCERNS over a potential cover up of people involved in the Odebrecht bribery scandal potentially, during three administrations,  led to  a noon protest at the headquarters of the Public Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday, January 17.

They were demanding disclosure of the names of people who are being investigated for receiving bribes from the Brazilian construction company, which has received over $9 billion in contracts from different Panama governments.

Banners in hand they also demanded, that Attorney General Kenia Porcell conduct a transparent investigation and “make an example” of those involved.

“It should be investigated from the administration of Martín Torrijos, then Ricardo Martinelli and then Juan Carlos Varela,” said lawyer Ernesto Cedeño, one of those who participated in  the demonstration.

Some of the participants carried banners with the motto “whoever is named, should be named” and “those who fall must fall”

On Jan. 12, Porcell announced that Odebrecht promised to pay Panama $59 million, equivalent to the bribes people that the Brazilian company admitted to handing out  to Panamanian officials between 2009 and 2014.

Two banks, who were not named, have given information as part of the investigation.

The next day, AG General Secretary Rolando Rodríguez Cedeño reported that four high ranking Panamanians are being investigated and that their Swiss bank accounts had been seized.



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This reply (newspaper article) is being posted here in the Odebrecht scandal topic, but it applies to corruption in general in Panama.


Varela pressured to act on corruption

Posted on January 18, 2017 in Panama

Post Views: 87

PRESSURE is on President Juan Carlos Varela   for  action to combat corruption in the wake of the Odebrecht,  Panama Papers  and Waked scandals.

The Independent Movement (Movin) has urged the Comptroller General to audit public works carried out by Odebrecht in Panama since 2006.

The call , addressed through an open letter to  the President Carlos Varela, also emphasizes the need for the Tribunal Electoral to reveal the identity of the donors to electoral campaigns.

“Mr. President, you are responsible for dismantling the structure of corruption,” the group wrote.

“We demand that the necessary support  be assigned to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Institute of Forensic Sciences and the Comptroller General so that they can promptly complete their investigations.”

The group said that the allegations of corruption against Odebrecht are “no longer a suspicion, but a reality.”

Odebrecht admitted to U.S. officials that it paid bribes to officials in 12 countries, including Panama.

The company said it disbursed $59 million to Panama officials, an amount it has promised to pay back.

“The government has not protected the best interests of the state and has been unable to uncover the bribes paid by this company, increasing public distrust in our institutions and compromising our resources,” the group said

Meanwhile other organization, including the Chamber of Commerce, are pushing for the release of names of suspects under investigation in the bribery scandal.



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Chamber of Commerce expels Odebrecht

Posted on January 18, 2017 in Panama

No more Odebrecht visits to Chamber of Commerce
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PANAMA’S Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture has expelled the   bribery  ridden Odebrecht construction company from its membership rolls.

The expulsion was motivated by the Brazilian  company’s  confession revealing the massive payment of bribes  to officials of more than 12 countries, including Panama where  at least $59 million changed hands.

“Compliance with the laws and ethical and moral principles are convictions of the Chamber of on which our organization was built. Any breach of these values is grounds for expulsion, “said Jorg   García Icaza ,   president of the  chamber.

“Whoever deals with civil servants and contracts with the government, is responsible for knowing and complying with applicable laws and regulations,” says  the chamber’s ‘s Code of Ethics.

“We urge and support the Public Prosecutor’s Office and other competent authorities to conduct investigations, independently and promptly, but in strict adherence to the rule of law, so that the names of all those involved are made known and punished exemplarily so that we send a clear message that in Panama the laws are respected, “said García Icaza.

“As the most representative guild of the private sector has taken decisive action in rejecting any crime against the public administration, we invite all sectors of society to start a crusade against corruption, which will put an end to these years of the  weakening of institutions”



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Foul play mooted in death of Lava Jato judge

Posted on January 19, 2017 in Panama

Recovering bodies from the crash site
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THE SUPREME  court justice presiding over Brazil’s biggest corruption case, has died after the small plane he was travelling in crashed into the sea off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state, according to local authorities.

The Odebrecht construction company a key player in the Lava Jato corruption scandal   has admitted to paying $788 million in bribes to obtain contracts worldwide,  including at least $59 million in Panama

Judge Teori Zavascki  was  one of three passengers in  a Hawker Beechcraft twin-prop aircraft,  The timing is likely to raise questions of possible foul play reports The Guardian.

Zavascki has played a prominent role in the Lava Jato judicial inquiry into a bribery and kickback scandal that has implicated scores of politicians – including current and former presidents Michel Temer and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and several dozen other prominent politicians – and resulted in the jailing of the former head of the lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, plus the president of Odebrecht and other senior officers.



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Judicial footdragging in bribery probe

Posted on January 19, 2017 in Panama

Police raid in Dominican Republic
Post Views: 56

THE Odebrecht bribery scandal continues to make waves across Latin America as a plane carrying a judge investigating the Lavo Jato (car wash)  corruption case in Brazil, died in a plane crash on Thursday, January 19.

Meanwhile, not only Panama authorities appear to be dragging their feet in following up against local politicians who have received scores of millions in bribes according to  a confession from the Brazilian construction giant.

Peru’s Anti­Corruption Prosecutor Amado Enco has called for the judiciary to speed up investigations into the corruption and bribery  network operated by Odebrecht.

The company obtained 23 public contracts in Peru worth at least $16.94 billion between 1998 and 2015, of which 16 have been audited over the years.

Authorities are investigating the alleged payment of bribes totaling $29 million.

Enco is  “worried that the time will come that concrete and objective measures will not be taken in these investigations.”

He said  that the law empowers prosecutors to carry out seizures, searches and the lifting of banking secrecy.

“They are indispensable acts that should be carried out now, in an urgent way,” he told the station Ideeleradio.

The attorney added that the agency “will be at the back  of the inquiries, demanding that the corresponding authorities, and the judiciary, act quickly to hand out punishments.”

Peru has banned Odebrecht from receiving further state contracts.

Dominican Republic
The Attorney General’s Office of the Dominican Republic seized at least 20 boxes with

documents during a raid on the Odebrecht offices,

The raid on  Wednesday lasted approximately six hours, sat Dominican media reports.

The Attorney General’s Office said that the search wascarried out after comparing the information provided by Odebrecht’s representatives in the country with data obtained through intelligence work, according to Listín Diario.

Before conducting the raids, investigators again interrogated businessman Ángel Rondón, the commercial representative of Odebrecht in the Caribbean country.

Rondón has insisted that the money he received was not used for illegal payments or bribes.

Odebrecht admitted paying  bribes of about $92 million.

Panama banks
Colombia appears to  have been fastest off the mark with the arrests of two former senior officials.

The  Attorney General’s Office reported that Odebrecht paid bribe  using bank accounts in Panama and Andorra.

“Odebrecht created a structural relations office Through which accounts for bribe payments were manipulated and from that office came  the $11 million that reached accounts in Panama and the Principality of Andorra  “according to documents of the Office of the Prosecutor Seen by  RCN news..

The Colombian Public Prosecutor’s Office is following the payment route.

Gabriel García Morales, who was deputy minister of Transportation in the

Government of President Álvaro Uribe (2002-2010) was arrested at the beginning of January and  accused of receiving a bribe of $6.5 million in 2009,  presumably for  favoring Odebrecht  for a highway contract.

As part of the diligence carried out, experts traced the bearer shares that would have been used to move money for  bribes and the identity of the people involved, according to the Colombian daily El Tiempo.

Colombian authorities also arrested  ex-senator Otto Nicolás Bula, accused of receiving $4.6 milion

Odebrecht  pleaded guilty last December in a US court for violating anti-bribery rules, as a result of the Lavo Jato  investigation into a complex network of corruption between

2001 and 2016, which paid about $439 million to political parties, foreign officials and their representatives in several Latin American countries.



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