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Two former Panamanian presidents on trial in Odebrecht case

Panama, May 25 (Prensa Latina) Former Panamanian presidents Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) and Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019) are on trial for receiving bribes from the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht, local media reported, quoting 'a judicial source' on Tuesday.

La Estrella de Panama newspaper assured that the two former presidents are among 50 individuals and a legal company on trial for alleged economic crimes, including money laundering.

The accusation by the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office was based on the fact that allegedly, in their respective administrations, both presidents received illegal money for hiring the company for construction infrastructure projects, the newspaper stated.

According to the Public Ministry (MP), the investigation also detected that Odebrecht had paid millions of dollars to the political campaigns of Cambio Democratico, led by Martinelli, and the Panameñista party, led by Varela.

The financial structure exposed by the Public Ministry since the beginning of the investigation included Panamanian and foreign public corporations, bank accounts in several countries, front men, insurance, fictitious contracts and the financing of political campaigns.