San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Panama

Panama president values corruption scandal involving predecessor at nearly $100 million

PANAMA CITY — Panama may have lost nearly $100 million to government corruption during the administration of President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014), his successor said in an interview published Wednesday.

Martinelli, who has been out of the country for three months, is currently under investigation by the Supreme Court for alleged involvement in inflating government contracts by $45 million.

Several former ministers, senior government officials, businessmen and a judge have either been jailed or face trial for alleged corruption and illegal enrichment.

“The figure for patrimonial loss, which is in the process of being recovered, could be nearing $100 million,” President Juan Carlos Varela said in an interview with the newspaper La Prensa.

Varela said the tally could rise further as investigators uncover the full extent of the corruption.

Some of the worst cases have been traced to an aid program for disadvantaged school children, a tax company and the administration of parking facilities at Panama’s Tocumen International Airport.

Martinelli has said on repeated occasions that he and his party are victims of “political persecution” by Varela.

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Bruce Hubert

Martinelli worked for no salary as Panamas president. He is worth over 2 billion dollars from his super market chain and investments. He is a Harvard graduate. He accomplished a lot as president,. I doubt seriously he was lining his pockets from corruption.

The new president is a left leaning socialist who panders to the poor and uneducated.

As for corruption all Latin American countries are fraught with corruption including Costa Rica. It is in their blood and will never change. Look at Petro Bras in Brazil …..

Presidents come and go but the culture of corruption will always be there.

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Ben

Your right. Why would he steal millions when he has billions it does not make any sense. The new president hates him and is very jealous.

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Alferd Packer

That’s probably a good estimate. What is unusual about this corruption is that, so far, there doesn’t seem to be a direct link into his own pocket. He was making sure all his cronies got THEIR pockets lined.
It doesn’t excuse a thing. The money was still stolen.

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