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Friday, August 22 2014 @ 05:35 PM EDT

Italy Will Cooperate With Panama In Lavitola Bribery Investigation

CorruptionThe justice system in Italy agreed to send to Panama evidence on the investigation into the Italian businessman Valter Lavítola for the crime of international corruption, after the alleged payment of bribes to Panamanian public servants. This was confirmed by the Italian judicial authorities to Panama's Attorney General Jose Ayu Prado, who made ​​a trip to that country between 9 and 13 July 2012.

Public Ministry sources told this newspaper that the office of the prosecutor of Naples, which is investigating Lavítola, has accepted the request for legal assistance presented by his Panamanian counterpart last April. In response they have promised to provide the evidence collected against Lavitola in the investigation, which began last September 2011, to the Panamanian authorities.

This request for judicial assistance is part of the investigation Ayu Prado opened last May into the alleged payment of bribes to Panamanian officials, which supposedly took place in 2010, in the midst of a negotiation between the Ministry of Government and the company Svemark for the construction of modular prisons in the country.

Roxana Mendez, who was the Minister of Government at the time, and who is now the Mayor of Panama City, and other government officials including President Ricardo Martinelli, have denied the payment of those bribes.

Lavítola, who was instrumental in the negotiations between Panama and the Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica for the $250 million contract to buy radars, helicopters, and digital mapping serves, is in prison in Italy and awaiting trial on this case. (Prensa)

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