World Economy

Panamanians Protest Over Bribery Case

Panamanians Protest Over Bribery CasePanamanians Protest Over Bribery Case

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Panama in protest over a political scandal involving huge bribes paid by a Brazilian company in exchange for public contracts. Odebrecht has admitted it paid $788 million in bribes to win construction contracts in 12 countries.

It has agreed with the US Justice Department to pay a world record $3.5 billion fine, Aljazeera reported.

“No more governments of thieves and the corrupt,” read some placards as the crowd moved through the center of the capital Panama City to the Congress building on Friday.

“The goal of the march is to demand that all those corrupt in all the parties and businessmen are investigated, so they return the money and go to jail,” Saul Mendez, a leader of the Suntracs construction union that was among the protest organizers, told AFP news agency. The scandal surrounding Odebrecht, which US authorities say paid $59 million in bribes in Panama between 2010 and 2014, was just “the tip of the iceberg”, he said.

Panama, which is trying to clean up its image after the Panama Papers scandal last year, has asked Interpol to issue wanted alerts for the sons of Ricardo Martinelli, who was president at the time.

Meanwhile, Panamanian prosecutors raided the offices of Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the center of the “Panama Papers” scandal, seeking possible links to Brazilian engineering company Odebrecht, the attorney general’s office said on Thursday.

“Raid of offices of law firm that created limited liability companies in Brazil linked to LavaJato PanamaPapers,” the attorney general’s office said on Twitter, without providing more details.


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