Spanish version

JUDICIAL AFFAIRS

Luis Cucalón to be interviewed Monday

He is accused of receiving a $5.8 million check from Cobranzas del Istmo in exchange for a lucrative contract to collect delinquent taxes.

Spanish version

Former General Directorate of Revenue (DGI) Director Luis Cucalón is slated to appear before prosecutors at 9 a.m. Monday to answer questions about irregularities in the contract the entity signed with the company Cobranzas del Istmo to collect delinquent taxes.

Cucalón was accused by former Cobranzas del Istmo owner Cristóbal Salerno of accepting a $5.8 million payment that was made in exchange for the contract.

Salerno is under house arrest.

Carlos Carrillo, Cucalón's lawyer, confirmed that his client will clarify all the accusations against him today. 

The company was paid just over $47.1 million, including $30.6 million in 2014. The bulk of that money, $21.8 million, was paid by Tocumen S.A., the state-owned entity that operates Tocumen International Airport.

Many have questioned why the government had to pay a commission on taxes it essentially paid to itself, and what Cobranzas del Istmo actually did to collect the debt. Airport officials said that the debt was repaid as part of a bond issue for the expansion of the facility.

Salerno has also claimed he delivered a check for $900,000 to a company linked to former President Ricardo Martinelli, and also gave him "suitcases full of cash" every two or three months.

Those allegations will be investigated by the Supreme Court, which is the only entity that can open a criminal proceeding against Martinelli, who has denied any wrongdoing.

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