Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Friday, July 10, 2015

WILL ALLEGATION OF CORRUPTION AGAINST PANAMA'S REFORMIST PRESIDENT DERAIL THE COUNTRY'S PROSECUTION OF FORMER OFFICIALS ?


Unsubstantiated allegations of corruption, lodged against President Carlos Varela Rodríguez, could threaten Panama's ongoing anti-corruption campaign. Most of the country's former ministers, as well as government agency heads, face investigation, or actual criminal charges, surrounding their conduct during the corrupt 2009-2014 administration of former President Ricardo Martinelli. Was Varela also involved ?

Some observers believe that the allegations are politically motivated, and designed to divert attention from efforts to convict Martinelli's ministers, and the former president himself, of massive corruption, insider trading, money laundering, and theft on a grand scale. If Varela was forced to resign, would the anti-corruption prosecutors pursuing the guilty back off on their quest to clean up Panama ? We cannot say, but we will be following the issues regarding Varela closely in the coming weeks, both to ascertain whether there is any evidence to support them, and whether they will pose a distraction in a Panama  that is just a stone's throw away from being blacklisted by the FATF as a money laundering tax haven.

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