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JUDICIAL AFFAIRS

Attorney links Porfirio Ellis to Hidalgo & Hidalgo case

Luis Vargas said he was instructed to negotiate contracts on behalf of Felipe "Pipo" Virzi with Hidalgo & Hidalgo by Ellis.

Spanish version

Temas:

Attorney Luis Vargas, who negotiated a contract on behalf of entrepreneur Felipe "Pipo" Virzi with Hidalgo & Hidalgo, has revealed that he did so on the orders of Porfirio Ellis.

Vargas said that Ellis, a former deputy candidate for the CD, twice gave him documents to manage collections for H & H, the company which was awarded the $155 million contract for the failed irrigation project in Tonosí, Los Santos, in 2012. The company received more than $37 million, and more than $10 million of that money was funneled to Virzi.

In a statement given to the third anti-corruption prosecutor, Vargas said that he could not authorize any payment unless Virzi approved them, though he said Ellis also gave him orders.

He also said that Ellis acted as a coordinator with H & H. Vargas also said that Ellis introduced him to Marco Alban, a representative of H & H who coordinated with Virzì to hire him as the attorney.

Vargas said that the deal called for Virzi to receive a "professional services fee," which prosecutors have called a kickback, of 10 percent, or $15 million.

Alban has also said in his statement that that company had failed to win several government contracts before he contacted Ellis, who assured that he could help with the bidding process.

He revealed that he received instructions, both verbal and written, from Ellis, who told him who should be paid and how much.

Meanwhile, in his statement to the public prosecutor, Ellis said that he never received any payment from H & H. He also denied any knowledge of a $319,000 check made out to him, saying it was not deposited in any of his accounts.

He argued that he assisted H & H, but never accepted any bribes.

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