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Panamanian politicians reject Pandora Papers

Panamanian politicians reject Pandora Papers

Panamanian politicians reject Pandora Papers

The ex-president Panamanian Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) and the Panameñista Party, with which Juan Carlos Varela ruled from 2014 to 2019, rejected this Sunday the Pandora Papers, a new international journalistic investigation on alleged concealment of money and laundering in which they are mentioned, among other politicians in the region.

In a statement, the Panameñista Party rejected “The leaks of private information from Panamanian legal and financing service providers are illegal” and urged the Panamanian Prosecutor’s Office to “initiate ex officio investigations in relation to the theft of said information.”

“This type of action seriously damages the image of the country” and “adds to the already negative perception of Panama due to its inclusion in the discriminatory lists”, said the party, in relation to the presence of the Central American country in lists of countries with deficiencies in the fight against money laundering.

The Panameñista Party pointed out to the Democratic Revolutionary Party, in power, of having “Failed in his campaign promise to defend Panama’s image and remove the country from discriminatory lists”, and to do “everything in its power to keep Panama on the discriminatory lists.”

For his part, former President Martinelli pointed out on his Twitter account that he has not been a client of Alcogal, the Panamanian law firm involved in the report published this Sunday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and its associated media around the world.

“I have NEVER been a client of ALCOGAL or companies I own except Panaholding 30 years ago had 1% of shares”, the ex-president wrote, adding that he knew “they would never publish” the answers he gave to the journalistic consortium.

Former President Varela said in a brief statement that he fully answered a questionnaire to the ICIJ journalist, Sean McGoey, in which he confirmed that he is one of the shareholders of VHS Capital, constituted by Alcogal, and explained that during his Administration a “Breakthrough” in the fight against money laundering and corruption.

“In relation to VHS Capital, it was indicated that it is a transparent company and that my shareholding is included in my sworn statement of assets, rendered before assuming as President of the Republic and upon leaving office, which I made public in both occasions ”.

In the Pandora Papers the former presidents Martinelli, Varela and Ernesto Pérez Balladares (1994-1999) are mentioned. The first two are part of the group of 50 people that the Prosecutor’s Office has asked to prosecute in the Odebrecht case.

The law firm rejected this Sunday in a statement the “conjectures, inaccuracies and falsehoods” of the journalistic report, which “projects a wrong image about the activities” of the firm, to the point that “in some cases, the people mentioned never they were clients ”of hers.

For its part, the Government of Panama said that the entities and subjects mentioned in the Pandora Papers will be supervised, and that it works “in a cohesive and inter-institutional manner”, determined “to counteract the negative repercussions of any tangential or conjunctural scandal in the that they want to involve the country ”.

Panama still suffers damage to its reputation from the Panama Papers, ICIJ’s pioneering research. This leak of 11.5 million documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca in April 2016 revealed that personalities from around the world hired the services of that firm, now defunct, to create offshore companies allegedly to evade taxes.

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