United State Ex-President of Panama is prohibited from entering the country Juan Carlos Varela “for him Engaging in major corruption“, said this Thursday the head of US diplomacy Anthony Blinken.
Varela, 59, “accepted bribes in exchange for inappropriately awarding public contracts while serving as vice president Then the president of Panama.”
The Secretary of State confirmed that the United States intends to “Fighting rampant corruption in PanamaBecause if it is not dealt with “it will continue to undermine prosperity” and democracy.
“We hope today’s action (Thursday) will galvanize officials and authorities in Panama to address entrenched corruption and empower all those who support the rule of law,” Blinken stressed.
Varela, president between 2014 and 2019, is accused by Panamanian Justice L Money laundering in the Odebrecht casein which the former President of Panama was also implicated Riccardo Martinelli (2009-2014).
According to the accusations Panamainista party (Right) that would have been received by the businessman who produced the rum $10 million for the Brazilian company.
Varela, who is freely awaiting trial, has admitted receiving money from him Odebrecht for his 2009 campaign, but not while he was president.
However, the prosecution claims that Varela also received payments “when he was already serving as president.” And when he was vice president, at a time when Odebrecht’s company was benefiting from awarding contracts.
The investigation into this case was opened in Panama in 2015, archived, reopened in 2017 – after the company admitted in the US that it had paid millions in bribes in dozens of countries – and ended in October 2018.
In July 2017, Odebrecht signed an agreement with the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Panama to pay the state a fine of $220 million (about €195 million) in 12 years, which was not complied with.
The politician held the vice presidency from 2009 to 2014 and the presidency from that year until 2019.
In January this year, The United States also banned entry to Martinelli and his sons, Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enriquewho also faces charges in the Odebrecht case.
Martinelli is also awaiting the judge’s ruling in a money laundering case. The former governor, 71, is aiming to seek a new mandate in next year’s general election.
the Panama judge They told the news agency that he “owes” the United States and it should do its part EFE Analysts and politicians after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs classified Juan Carlos Varela and his family as ineligible to enter its territory.
“Panama remains indebted because its judge is doing what she must to confirm these serious charges“Corruption posed by the United States. “Everything comes from abroad, as usual, and Locally we are not done with the operations and that is, really, a pityL. said EFE Former class president Panama from Transparency International (IT), Carlos Barcalo.
It is a message from a politician from one country, urging another country to do its duty. We have to do our duty, we have to investigate and, after legal procedures, punish everyone who violates the laws.. This is very basic, but it is easily said and not done and we have had many years of this same rhetoric,” Barsalough commented.
Former Attorney General and candidate for an independent deputy position Ana Mathilde Gomez I agree with Barceló on that Now it’s up to Panamanian justice to do its part“.
“I hope others wanted will be added to the list of Riccardo Martinelli and Juan Carlos Varela.“, affirmed Gomez, who considers it “appropriate, as far as sufficient evidence is available, to proceed, by all appropriate legal means, to highlight the actions of high-ranking public officials who used their power to benefit.”
to the constitutional lawyer Ernesto CedenoThe fact that Panama has two former US-appointed presidents accused of corruption shows that Administration of Justice in Panama “in intensive care”.
“For some high-profile cases and others, justice is not working as it should, and that has a lot to do” with the fact that the judicial system lacks the “full, complete and financial independence” that would allow it to function “without having to do with the vagaries of politics,” the analyst emphasized.
(with info from EFE and AFP)