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Frank De Lima (Former Minister of Finance) Facing Corruption Charges

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Ex-Finance Minister’s home raided

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Investigators at De Lima's home

A SEARCH of the  Costa de Este home of  Panama’s former Minister of Economy and Finance was carried out on Monday Aug 1.

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Frank De Lima

Frank De Lima is under investigation for possible embezzlement of public funds in concessions granted when he served as chairman of the board of directors of Tocumen, S.A., during the last government.

De Lima – who is accused of the alleged commission of crimes against the public administration – is detained in the cells of the Judicial Investigation Office in Ancon. He is one of four Cambio Democratico (CD) party members who have indicated their interest in running for the presidency of Panama in 2019.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/ex-finance-ministers-home-raided

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Bail for ex-Minister upped to $600,000

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BAIL  FOR  Panama’s former Finance Minister Frank De Lima has been bumped up to $600,000  by The Second High Court of the First Judicial District of Panama after an appeal by an anti-corruption prosecutor.

The bond had originally  been set at $250,000 but Anti-Corruption attorney Adecio Mojica. Argued that the audit of the Comptroller’s Office showed that the State could have suffered an economic injury of  about $3,219,320 because of Lima’s actions and bail should be increased.

On Monday  Oct. 16 The Court accepted Mojica’s appeal. Leaving De Lima having to find  another $350,000, if he wishes to return home while awaiting trial

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/bail-ex-minister-upped-600000

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Multi-million corruption suspect released

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Frank De Lima, free to roam
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THE RANKS of high profile members of the Ricardo Martinelli administration detained in El Renacer prison charged with corruption, were further thinned on  Thursday, December 28.

The former Minister of Economy and Finance Frank De Lima accused of accepting $7 million in bribes, is now free to walk the streets, barred only from leaving the country.

During a Supreme Court plenary session on Thursday, December 28, he was granted an appeal of habeas corpus replacing the preventive detention which had been imposed by the Special Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office in the Odebrecht case.

Judicial sources informed La Prensa that the magistrates who voted in favor of change were: José Ayú Prado, Cecilio Cedalise, Efrén Tello, Oydén Ortega and Hernán De Leon. Jerónimo Mejía abstained, while his colleagues Harry Díaz, Ángela Russo and Abel Zamorano saved their votes.

At a  November 9 public hearing in the Twelfth  Criminal Court, André Rabello – Odebrecht’s superintendent in Panama – confessed that De Lima received at least $7 million in “improper payments” from the bribery department of the construction The declaration is part of an effective collaboration agreement with the prosecution. Luiz Eduardo Da Rocha Soares, another Odebrecht executive, also identified De Lima as one of the beneficiaries of improper payments made by the firm.

In addition, two Panamanians -Olmedo Méndez Tribaldos and José Luis Saiz Villanueva- stated while under investigation that they received money from Odebrecht, on instructions from the ex-minister.

Frank De Lima is also under investigation for alleged irregularities in contracts for concessions granted at the Tocumen International Airport for which He was granted bail in October. However, he was still in El Renacer for the Odebrecht case.

Recently, it was announced that he is also being investigated for supposed embezzlement in the parking lots contract at  Tocumen International.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/multi-million-corruption-suspect-released

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Sticky fingered ex-minister wins and loses

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Frank De Lima,
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PANAMA’S   former Finance Minister  Frank De Lima got a free pass from preventive detention on Friday, January 12. After a Supreme Court ruling, but will remain behind bars because he allegedly had his fingers in other corruption pies

The ruling that would have substituted detention with twice a month repoting was over alleged embezzlement in a  contract of the Tocumen airport parking lot.

The one that will keep him in custody is for the alleged collection of bribes for the award of contracts for store rental in the Tocumen terminal.

He is also facing charges for the alleged collection of bribes for granting facilities in contracts assigned to the Odebrecht company.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/sticky-fingered-ex-minister-wins-loses

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Bail revoked for former finance minister

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FORMER Finance and Economy Minister Frank De Lima. facing a string of corruption probes has lost another court battle and will remain in detention in El Renacer prison while being investigated for alleged anomalies in a contract for the maintenance of parking lots at from the Tocumen International Airport during the last government.

For company, he will have a clutch of high profile figures from the Ricardo Martinelli era.

The Second Superior Court has revoked a bail order that the Eleventh Court had given him.

The judges argued that there is a risk that the ex-minister will escape or disregard the process since in the bail document there was no record of where he lives, or where he works.

The Anticorruption Public Prosecutor’s Office  is investigating  De Lima for alleged crimes against the public administration, because an audit of the Comptroller determined that the airport stopped receiving $1.9 million between October 2011 and July 2014, product of the direct contract awarded Sky Parking, S.A., linked to Gabriel Gaby Btesh who has  already disappeared from Panama.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/bail-revoked-for-former-finance-minister

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Ex-Finance Minister exits holding cell

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Frank de Lima
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Former Panama Finance Minister  (MEF) Frank de Lima  under investigation for alleged anomalies in a contract for the maintenance of the parking lots of the Tocumen International Airport, while he was in office.

He has been released from preventive detention by The plenary of the Supreme Court (CSJ) which declared his arrest legal but replaced the detention with country arrest ( impediment of leaving the country and ordered to report on  the 15th and 30th of each month). He will be not be allowed to change his place of current residence.

De Lima was being held in prison by the National Police for the investigation of the anomalies in a contract for the maintenance of the parking lots of the Tocumen airport.

As head of the MEF  he served as president of the board of Tocumen S.A., a company that runs the Panamanian air terminal.

The Anti-corruption Discharge Office of the Public Prosecutor is investigating  for the supposed commission of crimes against public administration,(embezzlement)  because an audit by the Office of the Comptroller General the Republic determined that the airport stopped receiving $ 1.9 million between October of 2011 and July of 2014.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/ex-finance-minister-exits-holding-cell

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Freedom and banning from leaving the country is ordered for Martinelli’s former minister

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 10:43

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The Panamanian Supreme Court ruled today on a writ of habeas corpus in favor of former Minister of Economy Frank De Lima, prosecuted for a case of alleged irregularities in a concession granted at the main Panamanian airport, and ordered his immediate release banning him from leaving the country, a judicial source said.

The matter was discussed during a plenary session of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ), in which a writ of habeas corpus modified De Lima’s detention to notifying himself before the authority that issued his case on days 15 and 30 of every month, the source explained to ACAN-EFE.

He added that because it is a writ of habeas corpus "his departure was changed" from the prison facilities in which he is detained, with the prohibition of leaving the country without judicial authorization.

The ruling, which has not yet been published, also determines that the former Minister of Economy has the obligation to reside within the corresponding jurisdiction.

The local television leaked a letter from the trial judge Hernán De León, from the First Civil Chamber of the CSJ, to the director of the National Police (PN), Omar Pinzón, informing him of the decision adopted by the plenary session of the Panamanian Supreme Court.

In the letter, magistrate De León tells the director of the PN that in addition to the precautionary measures mentioned, it is also ordered that Frank De Lima “be put in immediately freed if there is no other pending case against him.”

De Lima, who was Minister of Economy and Finance and president of the Tocumen Airport, the country’s main airport, during the Administration of Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014), was already in preventive custody between May 2015 and February 2016 for another case of alleged corruption in the purchase of grains through the now extinct National Aid Program (PAN).

 

http://www.panamatoday.com/panama/freedom-and-banning-leaving-country-ordered-martinellis-former-minister-6828

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Ex-Finance Minister grilled over alleged $7 million bribes

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Frank de Lima
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Panama’s former Finance Minister was interrogated for five hours, on  Friday,   July 13  by special Anti-corruption prosecutor  Zuleyka Moore over his alleged links to the Odebrecht corruption scandal in Panama.

The questioning started at 9:00 a.m. and ended about 2:00  p.m.

The last time De Lima was investigated by the prosecution, in this case, was in December 2017 when he was ordered to be provisionally detained, but a ruling by the Supreme Court (CSJ) replaced the detention with the precautionary measure of country arrest.

In a public hearing, on November 9, 2017, in the Twelfth Criminal Court, André Rabello – Odebrecht’s superintendent in Panama – confessed that De Lima received at least $7 million in “undue payments” from the Brazilian constructor’s bribery department. The declaration is part of an agreement effective collaboration between the prosecutor’s office and Rabello.

Luiz Eduardo Da Rocha Soares, another Odebrecht executive, also identified De Lima as one of the beneficiaries of improper payments made by the firm.

In addition, two  Panamanians -Olmedo Méndez Tribaldos and José Luis Saiz Villanueva- declared that they received money from Odebrecht on instructions from the former minister.

De Lima has categorically denied links to  Odebrecht bribes,

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/ex-finance-minister-grilled-over-7-million-bribes

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Ex-finance minister off one hook, others waiting

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Frank de Lima
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Minister of Economy and Finance, Frank De Lima and six other people, have had a case into a $3.2 million rental contract for a local at the Tocumen International Airport shelved.

The Court stated that the Comptroller’s audits declared that the $3.2 million, are considered as profits left over by the Tocumen Airport. “The irregularities have been unfounded, as it was not proven a possible patrimonial injury to the State ” but De Lima, while serving as minister had more fish to fry.

Guido Rodríguez, public prosecutor, filed an appeal for reconsideration to urge the Court to call for equity judgment.  In addition, the former minister is investigated for alleged irregularities in a contract to administer the parking lots at the airport. and he is also charged with money laundering in the Odebrecht scandal.

On August 31, the Fifteenth Criminal Court filed the case for embezzlement followed by de Lima for the purchase of grains in the National Assistance Program.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/ex-finance-minister-off-one-hook-others-waiting

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Plea deal by front man in Odebrecht bribery

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ex-finance minister Frank De Lima
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Andrés Mozes Libedinsky fingered as the possible front man for Frank De Lima  Panama’s former Minister of Finance is negotiating an effective collaboration agreement with the Special Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office in the Odebecht bribery scandal.

In the agreement between the public prosecutor and the directors of Odebrecht, in November 2017, information was provided that Mozes Libedinsky was one of the supposed frontmen of De Lima, reports La Prensa.

The ruling was released Wednesday, October 24 although dated July 27. Mozes Libedinsky has been detained since 4 September 2017, for alleged money laundering.

His name came to light in the investigation of the bribes paid by Odebrecht during the approval hearing of the effective collaboration agreement between the directors of the Brazilian construction company and the Special Anticorruption Prosecutor.

In that hearing, held on November 9, 2017, the twelfth criminal judge, Óscar Carrasco, approved the collaboration agreement.

The investigation, carried out by the prosecutor’s office with judicial assistance from  Andorra, determined that Mozes Libedinsky’s operations were made through the Banca Privada de Andorra (BPA) , in which over $3 million was moved.

José Luis Saiz and Olmedo Méndez Tribaldos also revealed to the prosecution that they served as intermediaries to receive at least  $7 million from Odebrecht that were for De Lima.

The former minister has denied his involvement with Odebrecht bribes.

Flight risk
On January 7, 2018, Carrasquilla denied an application for bail for Libedinsky, arguing that there is a flight risk, since, , he is a Chilean national and, has with the economic means to leave the country and destroy evidence

Mozes Libedinsky accepted article 25 of the  Constitution so as not to file a statement in the process.

Judge Carrasquilla, in denying him bail, said  that, “although it is true that the defendant has a constitutional right not to testify against himself, it is also true that his dismissal would have aided the investigation, that the reasons for his links with the Odebrecht company would be known, which would have served to separate him from the investigation and therefore obtain a possible freedom “.

Now, months after that ruling, Mozes Libedinsky is negotiating an agreement to reveal everything to the prosecution.

In the agreement, he would have to confess to the prosecution to whom the payments he received from Odebrecht executives went.

The prosecution has signed sentencing agreements – with de Lima go-between  Olmedo Méndez Tribaldos, and with Jorge Espino, who declared that he was an intermediary of the former Public Works Minister  Jaime Ford so that he would receive $1.8 million in Odebrecht bribes.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/plea-deal-by-front-man-in-odebrecht-bribery-case

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Prosecution asks trial for ex-Finance Minister

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Frank De Lima
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The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office of the MP, represented by Prosecutor Adecio Mojica,  has asked for former Finance Minister, Frank De Lima, and a businessman to be called to trial for alleged embezzlement of state funds in a concession of at  Tocumen International Airport.

According to a report from the Office of the Comptroller General the crime against the Public Administration, was due to a patrimonial injury, of approximately $3.2 million.

the former minister was arrested in 2017

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/prosecution-asks-trial-for-ex-finance-minister

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Ex-finance minister got $10.2 million in bribes - prosecutor

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Posted 03/02/2019
 
The 12th Criminal Court has rejected a move by the defense of the former Minister of Economy and Finance (MEF) Frank De Lima against the order of inquiry issued on September 1, 2017, by the Special Anticorruption Prosecutor's Office in the investigation of Odebrecht bribes.

In a ruling dated January 17, 2019, the twelfth criminal judge, Óscar Carrasquilla, dismissed the appeal filed by the lawyer Roberto Ruiz Díaz, on behalf of De Lima, arguing that the evidence in the investigation pointed to the possible commission of a crime of money laundering reports La Prensa.

In the ruling, Carrasquilla states that he can not access the appeal because his office cannot interfere in the investigative work carried out by the Public Prosecutor's Office.

He explained that the prosecutor's office links De Lima to the commission of the crime of money laundering due to the fact that the ex-official served as the head of the MEF during the period being investigated, a charge that was - says the investigating agency - used to benefit the Odebrecht company in tenders with the Government in exchange for the payment of bribes.

The prosecution provided the testimony of Olmedo Méndez, who, after an agreement of punishment and collaboration agreed with the MP, associated De Lima with monies received by the company Ralford Limited by the Aeon Group. Méndez confessed to being a figurehead of De Lima.

The company was part of the paper companies controlled by Odebrecht's Department of Structured Operations, destined to pay bribes abroad.

He also contributed the testimony of José Luis Saiz, who, in his agreements of punishment and collaboration with the MP, linked the former minister with money from Herzone Overseas Ltd., linked to Odebrecht. Saiz, after the agreement with the prosecution,  he returned $750,000 of the bribes.

Andrés Mozes Libedinsky is also indicated by the prosecution as one of the frontmen used by De Lima to move large sums of money, allegedly related to Odebrecht.

In the effective collaboration agreements reached by Odebrecht executives and approved by the 12th Criminal Court, it is established that Libedinsky received over $3 million, from November 2013 to April 2014, from companies linked to Odebrecht.

Mozes Libedinsky is named represented as a representative of the company Ralford Limited.The prosecutor's investigation indicates that De Lima received at least $10.2 million of Odebrecht bribes.

Defense
De Lima's lawyer maintains that his client has not been directly or indirectly linked to the creation or creation of the company Herzone Overseas, through which Odebrecht would have moved large sums of money. In addition, he says that they can not point to their client as a shareholder of that company.

He indicated that there is no evidence that the former minister, from Herzone Overseas and the other companies, has made money transfers.

De  Lima the has measure of impediment of exit from the country for this case since December 28, 2017, when the full Court changed the preventive detention measure. He is also facing other charges.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/ex-finance-minister-got-102-million-in-bribes-prosecutor

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Search of ex-finance minister’s home ruled legal

Posted 16/04/2019

A   SEARCH of the beach home of former Minister of Economy and Finance, Frank De Lima.has been  declared legal by  The Twelfth Criminal Court

The raid on the luxury second residence in a  Vistada estate, in San Carlos, was ordered  by the Anticorruption Prosecutor's Office and was ratified when an incident of controversy presented by the former minister was denied. According to judge Óscar Carrasquilla, the prosecution did not violate due process or any of the guarantees to the defendant, so there was no legal support to declare illegality.

The beach house located in El Palomar, district of San Carlos is valued at $300,000.

De Lima was detained in 2015 for alleged irregularities in the case of the purchase of grain through the defunct National Assistance Program (PAN) and was granted bail of$200,000 on February 26, 2016, by the Second Court of Justice.

De Lima is facing other criminal charges.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/search-of-ex-finance-ministers-home-ruled-legal

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90 corruption cases pending as accused delay justice

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Frank de Lima figures in multiple corruption cases

Posted 01/12/2019

Some 90 cases forwarded to the Supreme Court by the Public Ministry in the last five years are still awaiting resolution as the court struggles to cope with a never-ending stream of appeals and legal  maneuvers   by high profile, well-heeled defendants who once ruled the roost  in the Martinelli administration

La Prensa reports that the latest legal remedy threatens to delay the process for alleged embezzlement to the detriment of the National Assistance Program (PAN) , related to the purchase of bags of grain.

This is constitutional guarantee protection presented by the defense of the former Minister of Finance (MEF), Frank De Lima, against the decision of the Second Court of Justice, which in  October revoked the nullity of the inquiries to De Lima and Adolfo Chichi De Obarrio, the fugitive former private secretary of Martinelli.

The appeal alleges suspicious violations of the fundamental guarantees of those investigated in the process.

In this case, the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office of Discharge appealed a decision of the controversial fifteenth judge Leslie Loaiza, renowned for letting former high rollers of the hook who declared the inquiries to De Lima and De Obarrio void.

The magistrate of the Second Court, Zaida Cárdenas, endorsed the opinion of the prosecutor in maintaining that she had acted in accordance with the law by ordering the inquiries of both former officials.

Another 29 people were charged for alleged embezzlement and in the investigation, a patrimonial injury of $12.3 million was established.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/90-corruption-cases-pending-as-accused-delay-justice

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