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Thursday, November 15 2018 @ 10:04 AM UTC

President Linked To The Use Of Privileged Information

CorruptionWhat was believed to be an isolated case of financial fraud in a brokerage house now is generating charges that point directly to the president of the Republic, Ricardo Martinelli.

An investigation against Financial Pacific started in March 2012. What can be seen is only a fraction of a complex financial organization.

Two criminal complaints have been presented. One of the complaints was against the company for possible money laundering, fraud and forgery of documents. The other complaint was made against a formerly trusted employee, Mayte Pellegrini.

Pellegrini has been arrested and is being investigated, and according to her the irregularities in the management of the brokerage firm included the existence of a secret account called "High Spirit," which was opened to manipulate shares. Pellegrini refers to the shares of the company Petaquilla Minerals.

She revealed that the managers of Financial Pacific, Iván Clare and West Valdés, had said publicly that the secret account "belongs to Mr. Ricardo Martinelli ...".

Immediately following Pellegrini's statement about the "secret account of Mr. Ricardo Martinelli", the prosecutor in charge of the investigation, Julio Laffaurie, questioned her about the time she was working at the brokerage firm.

The new question cut short the possibility of deepening the inquiry into her assertion of the existence of an account whose aim was to "manipulate the stock market with shares of Petaquilla."

In the extension of the investigation, five days later, again Pellegrini made allusions to the president, Ricardo Martinelli. This time with reference to the possible opening of a bank that would take the initial value of the brokerage house. They were going to call it "FP Bank."

The announcement of the imminent opening of the bank was done, according to Pellegrini, in June 2011. "We were introduced to some partners in the bank, at at the time physically present were Iván Clare, West Valdés, Jonathan Binder, Ori Zbeda, Ricardo Martinelli, Ricardo Martinelli's son who I think is also named Ricardo Martinelli, and there was an Arab whose name I don't recall."

Pellegrini told her story to the story to the prosecutor between 22 and 28 November 2012. The investigation procedure is part of the process of the complaint filed on 26 July 2012 by the directors of Financial Pacific, Clare and Valdés, before the Attorney General, for the embezzlement of $7 million, and according to the investigations as they advance now reaches some $14 million.

The case gained national notoriety and raised suspicions when Alejandro Moncada, the President of the Supreme Court, granted a guarantee protection in favor of Financial Pacific.

The decision completely halted the reorganization process that had been initiated by the Superintendency of Market Securities. This forced them to issue an order suspending the operations of the brokerage house.

This newspaper tried to get a reaction from President Martinelli in response to the accusations made against him in the Financial Pacific process, but at press time there was no response.

On Thursday 20 and Friday December 21 emails were sent to his personal account. Also calls were made to his private phone, but to no avail. His spokesman, Luis Eduardo Camacho, did not answer calls. And Astrid Salazar, one of his employees in issues of communication, never notified the feasibility of obtaining a response.

"For about two years, many people in the financial industry have been talking about investments being made by high profile officials in the mining business. It would be good for some authority to do the investigations," said a source close to the sector. (Prensa)

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