Spanish version

GOVERNMENT

Panama seeks to void defense contracts

Temas:

Minister of the Presidency Álvaro Alemán said yesterday that the government has determined that there was an "abuse of power" in the contracts that were signed with the Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica for $250 million.

His statements were made outside the Supreme Court where he filed a claim to void the $125 million contract for the purchase of 19 radars. He has also been authorized by the Cabinet Council to file requests before the court to void the other $125 million in contracts for the purchase of helicopters and a digital map.

The complaint is based on a hidden commission of $25 million that was paid to the company Agafea Corp. Panama has classified that payment as a bribe.

"We found a company named Agafea that was charging a commission of $25 million when there is no evidence that this company did anything that warranted the payment," Alemán said.

The existence of the payment was detected by Italian prosecutors, who argue that Agafea was used to hide a bribe paid to former President Ricardo Martinelli and his collaborator, Valter Lavítola.

Agafea was created by Lavítola, who has been convicted of corruption in Italy. The president of the company is his girlfriend..

The law firm of Tapia, Linares and Alfaro will be representing the state in this case.

Octavio de el Moral, a member of the firm, explained that a considerable amount of evidence was presented, including court documents from Italy.

He announced that complaints against the two other contracts will be presented in the near future.

"It's a fight that will be long, and which starts after a year of having tried to find a diplomatic solution," he said. 

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