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  •  The Panamanian people demand transparency in the Odebrecht case.

    The Panamanian people demand transparency in the Odebrecht case. | Photo: Efe

Published 27 July 2017

The official statement reported an increase of seven alleged connections to Brazil’s poisonous corruption case.

Panama’s Attorney General Office reported Wednesday the number of the suspects in Brazil's Odebrecht scandal has risen to 43 in the country.

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According to the office’s Twitter account, the Attorney General refrained from naming the individuals, but did state the accused will be facing charges for “money laundering and corruption.”

Amid criticism from social activists and organizations, the official statement reported an increase of seven people for alleged connections to Brazil’s corruption case, the most recent figures since Chief Prosecutor Kenya Porcell’s announcement of 36 suspects from Panama in May.

Although a number of defendants in the case have remained anonymous in order to preserve “the principle of presumption of innocence”, according to a statement from the Roland Rodriquez, spokesperson for the Prosecutor’s Office, some of the high profiles charged with bribery are ex-president of Panama Ricardo Martinelli and his children, among other well known officials.

To date, the former president was detained in Miami for allegedly receiving money from the Brazilian company to finance the 2014 campaign of the Democratic Change party candidate Jose Domingo Arias.

His children have received detention orders from Interpol for allegedly commissioning US$20 million worth of projects to the Brazilian company. In December, the massive Brazilian construction company agreed to pay a record US$3.5 billion fine after admitting to paying millions in bribes in 12 countries to win government contracts.

The following months saw the social movements demanding the end of impunity and justice in the case. Odebrecht has become the largest government contractor in Panama in the past decade, with contracts totaling upwards of US$500 million, including one for the construction of a subway line in Panama City.

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