The Panamanian lawyer, Sidney Sittón, considered the agreement as detrimental because in his opinion “it gave Odebrecht impunity”. Before the first hearing on the Brazilian construction company case, he had acted because of the role he played, in this case, of the former Consul of Panama in South Korea, Jaime Lasso “we had publicly and formally reported him (Lasso) before the Public Prosecutor’s Office but the Prosecutor Porcell never investigated anything, on the contrary, she ordered the filing of the complaint.”
Sitton believes that this has repercussions outside the country and that sooner or later all those involved will be reached by international justice “through the Don James Foundation, the entire trajectory of the money of that structure appears and the United States has the authority to investigate, I believe that it is being done and is being investigated and will be prosecuted for money laundering. Juan Carlos Varela will go through very difficult moments, very hard and dramatic, and the outcome will hit him a lot.”
According to the jurist, the National Head of State has handled the relationship with the Asian giant as a guarantee “the coordinates he is setting are aimed at being protected by China at the moment he leaves the presidency, protecting himself and his assets there, for that reason he kicked out Taiwan and acknowledged China.” For the time being, Sittón believes that “Varela has to protect Lasso no matter what, and he has done so through Prosecutor Kenya Porcell, who will shortly be announced as a judge of the supreme court of justice replacing two magistrates who are leaving.”
Porcell: If the Judicial Branch allows it, more names will come out
In an exclusive interview with the local television channel Telemetro, the Attorney General of the Nation, Kenia Porcel, explained that it will depend on the Judicial Branch to continue investigations into the Odebrecht case. “If more time is given for the Public Prosecutor’s Office to investigate, more names of Panamanian citizens are going to emerge. There are companies that could not be investigated completely. There is a lot of evidence out there, in other languages that takes time. If the Public Ministry wins the appeal, we will achieve that.”
About his relationship with the whistleblowers’ defense lawyer, Samuel Quintero, acknowledged that “he was my lawyer, at this moment he does not have any trial against me. There should not be any conflict of interests. The agreements are not taken with the Attorney General, they are carried out with the Prosecutor’s office”. Porcell qualified those who used the argument of their relationship with the lawyer as subterfuges that “to some extent are used to weaken the work of anti-corruption prosecutors. That is not correct, neither ethical nor fair”.
The Attorney General believes that the standard of agreement with people involved in these types of cases is being beneficial because it allows quick results in criminal proceedings. She described the work carried out by the Public Ministry in the Odebrecht case as historical. She assured that the evidence is overwhelming and that those involved must be held responsable “anyone can say anything. The documentary evidence and the financial evidence distorts any argument contrary to the file”, however Porcell said that those who deny the alleged crimes have the right to due process.
On agreement results
However, one of the defendants at the Odebrecht hearing, Riccardo Francolini denied that he had received money “it is an absolutely false accusation. The Prosecutor lies and she knows it because this is evident in the assistance from Switzerland and in other evidence that she has. I never received a penny from that company in a bank account to my name.”
Other figures in Panamanian political life also established a position regarding the recognition that President Juan Carlos Varela made the same day of the hearing, that he had indirectly received funds from Odebrecht.
Ilusorio suponer otro resultado de la audiencia. Para CD son coimas para Arnulfistas son donaciones— Pérez Balladares (@PerezBalladares) 10 de noviembre de 2017
A veces pienso q gobernantes nos creen tontos. Si recibió 'apoyos' d Odebretch a través d offshores para ocultar procedencia del $ ESO ES DELITO D LAVADO D DINERO @JC_Varela— Guillermo A. Cochez (@willycochez) 9 de noviembre de 2017
Donaciones políticas a través d 3as personas si es delito sr @JC_Varela. Por q entonces esconder identidad del donante? Después d confesión d Jaime Lasso finalmente tuviste q admitir q habías mentido— Guillermo A. Cochez (@willycochez) 9 de noviembre de 2017
Vergüenza dan declaraciones d @JC_Varela. Recibió donaciones no coimas. Y por qué entonces a escondidas a través d testaferros? Odebretch no podía aparecer xq quería + contratos. La misma vaina pero con distinto pitongo— Guillermo A. Cochez (@willycochez) 9 de noviembre de 2017