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18 face laundering charges before controversial judge

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The Fifteenth Criminal Court will hold tomorrow preliminary hearing for  18 charged with money laundering, related to contracts signed through the defunct National Assistance Program (PAN).

Judge Leslie Loaiza, renowned for his controversial rulings in favor of high profile defendants will preside.

Judicial Branch sources reported that Judge Loaiza ordered the hearing to be held after it was suspended on December 12 due to the lack of appearance of some lawyers.

In the center of the investigation – which has 32 volumes –  is former PAN director  Rafael Guardia Jaén who reached a collaboration agreement with the prosecution.

Loot returned
On  December 14, 2017 – Judge Loaiza ordered the return of the assets seized from  Guardia Jaén, a decision that was successfully appealed by the prosecution before the Second Superior Court of Justice.

On May 3, 2018, the Second Court revoked the judge’s decision and maintained the seizure of assets and bank accounts that had been released.

Loaiza had arranged to return to Guardia Jaen a mansion in Costa del Este, valued at $940.000  for which he paid cash, two apartments, two Toyota trucks, a Porsche Cayenne, fixed installments and bank accounts for more than $100,000.



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Protected witness in embezzlement probes exits jail


Abraham Williams

Posted 28/03/2019
Abraham Williams Gallardo, recognized as the "protected witness" in investigations of embezzlement in the National Aid Program (PAN), which involves multiple former high rollers was released from prison to house arrest on Thursday, March 28.

Williams Gallardo, ex-head of purchasing of the PAN in the Martinelli government, has been detained since October 8 of last year, when he was extradited from Costa Rica, at a time when he intended to return to Panama. Since then, he has been in preventive detention in the case of alleged embezzlement in the housing and roof contracts of the Ministry of Housing, which was managed in the PAN during the previous government.

The Fifteenth Court granted him the precautionary measure to prevent him from leaving the country on January 28, but the Anticorruption Prosecutor filed an appeal to this decision, which kept him in prison.

The Second Court resolved the appeal of the prosecution and changed the precautionary measure to house arrest, through a resolution dated March 15

Williams Gallardo is already in his residence, and he must sign at the court every Friday  reports TVN.
n addition to the floors and roofs case  Williams Gallardo is investigated for alleged embezzlement in the purchase of backpacks and another process of money laundering; in the last two cases he has release guarantees.


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Quashing 18 money laundering cases appealed


Judge Leslie Loaiza

Posted 13/07/2019

The Anticorruption Prosecutor's Office will appeal a Friday, July 12  decision of Judge Leslie Loaiza, to dismiss 18  cases  against   people accused of money laundering to the detriment of the National Assistance  Program (PAN)

.According to the judge, the crime could not be proven through the audit provided by the prosecution.

Previously, Loaiza validated a penalty agreement - 60 months in prison - with former PAN director Rafael Guardia Jaén.

Loaiza also pronounced on Friday, in another case of the PAN: the purchase of tires. He imposed a six-year prison sentence on Charles Sadat Bonilla, as a primary accomplice, and four years in prison to Edwin Serracín and Ana Victoria Andrión Mejía, for embezzlement and corruption of public servants.



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Multi-million dollar food scam trial postponed


Giacomo Tamburelli. former head of PAN

Posted 14/10/2019

The criminal trial of  a group  of  defendants involved in an alleged multi-million dollar scam of the former National Assistance Program (PAN) during the Ricardo Martinelli administration, due to begin on Monday, October 14has been postponed at the  request of Attorney Karim Hassan on the grounds that her client had family commitments, says the Judicial Branch. said. 

"In case of nonattendance of any particular attorney of the technical defense -to the hearing-, it will be assumed by public defenders already assigned by the judge of the case Leslie Alberto Loaiza," said a statement.

Loaiza called  to trial the former PAN director Giacomo Tamburelli; the merchant Rubén De Ycaza ; the former PAN official Angel Famiglietti, Martinelli's  fugitive former private secretary, Adolfo De Obarrio;  and former ministers  Federico Suárez (Public Works) and  Lucy Molinar (Education), who were part of the board of the PAN at the time the purchase of food was approved.

The criminal process is related to alleged anomalies in the purchase of dehydrated food for universal lunches of public schools nationwide, for the period from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2011. The provider was the company Lerkshore International Limited, represented by De Ycaza.

The trial will now be held in December.



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Multiple crime collaborator l has 841 more days behind bars


Guardia Jaén

Posted 17/10/2019

Rafael Guardia Jaén, former director of the National Assistance Program (PAN)  sentences after a collaboration  deal to five years in jail  for money laundering sill has 841 days to serve says compliance judge, Elizabeth Berroa

The 60 months were approved through an effective penalty and collaboration agreement on December 13, 2017 before the Fifteenth Criminal Court.

The defense of Guardia Jaén sought recognition of the days it was with the notification and impediment of leaving the country after the agreement was approved. But the judge said that when the penalty agreement was concluded, the former PAN chief had to go pay his sentence. Therefore she if there were other penalty agreements.

he Anticorruption prosecutor, Zuleyka Moore, cited a macro agreement of 15 cases due to irregularities in the PAN linked to Guardia  Jaén. These include the floor and ceiling program, helicopter rentals,, Christmas bags, purchase of tires, grain bags, purchase of garbage tanks, musical instruments, school bags, and money laundering.

Moore said the penalty agreement is for a single case (money laundering and crimes against public administration). Moore explained, this agreement affects the rest of the processes, because the parties agreed to file what concerns Guardia Jaén on the condition that he serve as a witness for the Public Ministry for the other cases.

In fact, she said that in other courts the practice has been that the judge is informed and he complies with the agreement..

Judge Berroa said  that when the main agreement of 60 months in prison was approved, the sentence had to be executed.

Regarding the request for recognition of  239 days of work in green areas, prosecutor Moore objected alleging that Guardia Jaén had  often  reported sick and on many occasions had to attend judicial proceedings, so there was no record of his work. The judge said that she would not decide this issue until she had a report by El Renacer about the supposed work of Guardia Jaén.



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Anti-Corruption Prosecutor appeals nullity ruling for 35 accused


Leslie Loiaza

Posted 28/11/2019

The latest controversial ruling issued by the fifteenth criminal judge Leslie Loaiza in which he annulled the case of 35 people linked to the alleged irregularities in the purchase of food bags from the extinct National Assistance Program (PAN), is being appealed by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s office.

The nullity relates to the resolution issued by the prosecution on February 13, 2015, for the inquiry into  35 individuals, many with close links to the then ruling Martinelli administration.

The judge alleged in the decision of November 25, that the prosecution exceeded the term for the investigation after more than 17 month period in which different proceedings were evacuated without  requesting extensions

Judge Loaiza's decision came from an appeal filed by Marcela Araúz, a lawyer for the businessman Carlos Caneto Araúz.



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$45 million dried food embezzlement trial


Posted 16/12/2019

The hearing for alleged embezzlement against former ministers Federico Suárez and Lucy Molinar, the former director of the National Assistance Program (PAN) Giacomo Tamburrelli, businessman Rubén De Ycaza and former official Angel Famiglietti in a contract of $44.9 million for the supply of dehydrated food began in the 15th Criminal Court on Monday, December 16.

The hearing began with the testimony of the experts of the Comptroller General responsible for preparing the audit report used by the prosecution to request the appeal to trial.

Anti-corruption prosecutor Adecio Mojica said the audit report of the contract between the PAN and Lerkshore International for  the supply of dehydrated food in 2010 revealed serious irregularities.


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Former National Aid Boss and Accomplice To Trial



Posted 16/12/2019

Giacomo Tamburelli The former director of the National Aid Program (PAN) and businessman Roberto Carretero, have been called to trial for alleged embezzlement after the Second Court of Justice, revoked a provisional dismissal issued by the Fifth Criminal court.

 Tamburelli, like Carretero, are alleged to have worked in tandem to benefit companies that were owned by Carretero, and award contracts for the purchase of musical instruments, which were intended for distribution in different campuses in the country.

Magistrate, Eda Celia Gutierrez, declining a ruling issued by the fifth criminal judge, Enrique Paniza in  February in which another 13 people were also dismissed.  At that time, Paniza ordered the lifting of the precautionary measures against them

The ruling details among other points that there were no previous evaluations or feasibility studies that justified the need for the purchase of musical instruments by the PAN nor in the files of the Ministry of Education (Meduca), evidence certifying the distribution of the instruments in the different educational centers, according to a 2015 audit by the Comptroller General.



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Judges dismissal of high profile embezzlment suspects under appeal


Posted 17/12/2019

Controversial Judge Leslie Loaiza, renowned for his dismissal of corruption  cases against high profile suspects  has  acquitted five involved  in  alleged embezzlement in a   National Aid  Program (PAN)  $44.9 million dehydrated food  program

The anti-corruption prosecutor Adecio Mojica announced that he will appeal Judge Loaiza's ruling.

The hearing began at 9:00 am on Monday, December 16 and ended at 3 am on Tuesday

The judge acquitted Giacomo Tamburrelli and Ángel Famiglietti , former director-general and former director of Nutrition of the PAN, of s embezzlement. Famiglietti was also acquitted of ideological falsehood.

Rubén De Ycaza , owner of Lerkshore International -a provider of dehydrated food-, was acquitted of embezzlement, and  fraud in acts in public contracts was

Lucy Molinar and Federico Suárez, former ministers of Education and Public Works, respectively, were also acquitted. Both were prosecuted because as ministers of state, they were part of the PAN board of directors when the contract with Lerkshore was approved.

“ It’s 3 am The judge has just passed sentence. There are no culprits, there is no crime. The Public Ministry, after 18 hours, has not presented a document, a witness, a test, nothing, ”said Molinar, in a video she shared on her social networks.

Adolfo Chichi De Obarrio, former private secretary of ex-president Ricardo Martinelli was also investigated. He has never personally appeared in the process and his whereabouts are unknown, and a  search and arrest red alert was issued through Interpol.

Loaiza had already issued a dismissal in favor of those involved in the case - except Tamburrelli and De Obarrio - but in December 2018, the Second Superior Court overturned his decision and called all the investigators to trial.

This is the second contract that is investigated for the purchase of dehydrated food through the PAN.

The Sixteenth Criminal Court is handling a  process for a contract of $14.1 million, also awarded to Lerkshore.



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Ex social program boss facing $139 million money laundering  probe


Posted 29/12/2019

Rafael Guardia Jaen. Former head pf the National Aid program (PAN)  is being investigated for the possible laundering of $139 million with  $42 million in a Swiss bank; $17 million, in Gand Cayman, and $ 80 million, in encrypted accounts in Miami, where, in addition, he has  have a $4 million mansion in Coral Gables, which would make him almost a neighbor of the $8.2 million house of Ricardo Martinelli.

The investigation followed an anonymous phone call to the Public Ministry, l. reports La Prensa



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I can understand the temptation setting in for those huge amounts of money, but that still doesn't make it acceptable. Corruption is corruption and it needs to stopped. What I read on this website about the judicial system tells me that the corruption is going to continue. Sad.

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5  Martinelli ex-ministers among 24 to trial in $33 million helicopter scam


Posted 13/01/2020

Five former ministers and several former directors of entities of the administration of former President Ricardo Martinelli are among 24called to trial in the case of $33.1 million helicopter rental services processed by different state entities and paid through the National Assistance Program (PAN).

As collected by the Office of the Prosecutor, a possible property injury of $ 33.1 million is estimated.

The investigations arose after the Comptroller's Office carried out an audit of the period from 2010 to 2014 and  determined that there was damage to the assets of the State.

The Court of Auditors bases its decision by pointing out in its communication to the Public Prosecutor's Office that those called to trial requested the rental of flight hours and certified that they had received the services, without properly documenting the transactions with complete, and accurate information. adequate to allow subsequent verification to ensure the proper use of public funds.

They add that it is a proven fact that there are no adequate control methods to ensure that paid flights have been made.

The Court of Auditors already on Monday, January 13  called  to trial 24 people in including five former ministers: Guillermo Ferrufino, former Minister of Social Development for an alleged injury of $3 million dollars, Franklin Vergara former Minister of Health for $1.1 million, to former agricultural development ministers Emilio Kieswetter for $83,160 and Oscar Osorio for $253,530 dollars and the former Minister of Health Javier Díaz for $24,950.



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