27/12/2012 - President Ricardo Martinelli made it clear today that he will not sue La Prensa or any other media while in office.
However, he did not rule out pursuing such matters when he leaves office.
"When I stop being [President], that will be another thing, but now is not the time," he added.
Martinelli attributed the publications of La Prensa about his alleged insider trading to a vendetta by people who don't want to pay taxes.
"A gentleman who is the honorary president of La Prensa refuses to pay the taxes he owes which are used to fund projects such as the Irving Saladino and Curundu housing projects," the president said.
When asked what he would say to businessman Roberto Eisenmann, he responded, "be a man."
President Ricardo Martinelli said today that the manipulation of information is a violation of the human rights of citizens in general.
Martinelli made that statement in response to allegations published in La Prensa linking him to the insider trading of shares of Petaquilla Minerals.
The president said that the main victims in this case were he and his family "due to the manipulation of information."
He said La Prensa manipulated the information in a "new novel form of journalism," as confirmed by statements given by the attorney general today.
According to Martinelli, La Prensa knew the existence of documents that categorically dismissed the accusations against him but failed to publish them.
He added that these attacks arise from people who attack him because they don't want to pay taxes theyowe the government.
Opposition Deputy Leandro Avila said Thursday that whole scandal must be investigated.
Avila recalled that this scandal has repercussions in Canada, so if no proper investigations are made in Panama "another country will do the research."
Avila said that "silence serves to bring more speculation" and that "when such a situation occurs you must immediately respond to the country."
CALL FOR COMMENT
The president of the Panamanian Association of Business Executives (Apede), Roberto Troncoso, asked President Ricardo Martinelli to comment publicly about his alleged involvement in the case of Financial Pacific.
"The sooner he can clarify this the better," Troncoso said.
He noted that the country does not deserve this situation, and reiterated that it must be clarified once and for all.
"Panama is not only an international banking center, but it is also an international financial center," he said, adding that the current situation is "delicate."
SCANDAL AFFECTS THE COUNTRY'S IMAGE
Former Attorney General Ana Matilde Gómez said that this "is a case that calls into question the image of the country."
Gómez stressed that Panama is a country that boasts a well-regulated financial sector.
"This is why we should care about stability and credibility in the country's financial system," she noted.
Gómez said it is a contradiction to sell Panama as a good place to invest, but on the other hand run the country "as a place where, depending on the level of power and authority, you can access information for manipulating markets."
Gómez said that this case must be investigated by the public prosecutor. Newspaper articles are not evidence, but they should be enough to initiate investigations, she asserted. An investigations would clarify the facts and demarcate responsibility, she added.
President Martinelli has remained silent against accusations that linked him to the alleged use of privileged information for manipulating shares of Petaquilla Minerals. The accusations were made by Mayte Pellegrini, who is suspected of the embezzlement of $14 million from the brokerage house Financial Pacific.
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