Spanish version

JUDICIAL AFFAIRS

Judge upholds arrest of Richard Fifer

He was arrested in Colombia and transferred to Panama.

Spanish version

Temas:

Entrepreneur Richard Fifer faced hearings Saturday related to allegations that he withheld Social Security contributions for employees of three companies totaling more than $6.5 million.

Fifer faced three hearings in Penonomé under the accusatory penal system. At the first hearing, Judge Yazmin Jaén upheld his arrest and formalized charges against him. That case involves the alleged failure to pay $3.2 million in required social security contributions for employees of the mining company Petaquilla Gold. The judge ordered he be held in pre-trial detention in that case.

The same decision was made by the judge in the case of involving workers of the company Panamá Desarrollo de Infraestructura. In that case, he allegedly failed to pay $3.3 million in fees. The third case, which is still being investigated, relates to the failure to make payments on behalf of workers of the company Gastronomía Mar del Sur. The amount has not been determined and prosecutors have requested three months to complete the investigation.

Fifer, a former governor of Coclé, has been called "the father of Panamanian mining." He was detained in Colombia Thursday and brought to Panama Friday. Saturday, he was transferred to Penonomé for the hearings which started at 8:30 a.m.

Fifer was detained in Colombia after a red alert was issued by Interpol for his arrest. That alert was issued after he failed to appear before prosecutors on charges in an unrelated case. That case revolves around allegations that he accepted a $1 million payment from a company for mining concessions which he did not have.

Prosecutors said Fifer failed to appear on a number of occasions and his lawyers were never able to provide a legitimate explanation.

Fifer's lawyer, Anayansi Melgar, said that her client "was never reluctant to appear" and was never properly notified of the hearings.

Richard Fifer llegó a la audiencia bajo la vigilancia de miembros de la DIJ.

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