The judge imputes FCC for alleged commissions in Panama

  • The magistrate of the National High Court puts the magnifying glass on operations between 2009 and 2015
  • The news coincided with the publication of the construction company’s third quarter accounts

The judge of the National audience Ishmael Moreno has charged the construction company FCC with alleged corruption in international transactions and money laundering between 2009 and 2015, for the payment of 82 million in commissions for the award of two metro lines and the City of Health in Panama.

In the order known this Wednesday, the magistrate directs the procedure against the subsidiaries FCC Construcción, FCC Construcción Centroamérica and Construcciones Hospitalarias, which they would have participated in a consortium with the multinational Odebrecht which generated “cost overruns in the steel supply contracts for the Panama Metro and Clayton Hospital City projects.”

These funds “were earmarked for the alleged corruption payments through a sequence of instrumental companies and a circuit of bank accounts to end up paying those illicit profits in covert payments such as commercial commissions and to third party politicians and public employees”.

What is investigated is the possible committing a crime of money laundering, bribery and criminal organization committed between 2009 and 2015, after a lawsuit was filed in 2017 against a legal adviser of Odebrecht, a company that would have used Spanish shell companies to launder amounts from bribes paid by various construction companies, in exchange of awards.

Regarding the works of the Panama metro, FCC directors and Odebrecht employees would have designed, according to the Prosecutor’s Office, a system of corruption that consisted of oversize steel supply necessary to build the Panama metro, billing twice its price.

The funds were used to pay bribes to Panamanian officials and politicians, through shell companies managed by directors of FCC and Odebrecht, some of whom have already declared themselves under investigation for crimes of corruption in international transactions and money laundering.

As for the shell companies allegedly used, the same ones for the subway works and for the hospital, are Global Quality Steel and Scees Steel, whose administrators, Javier Ayora, Eduardo Trijueque and Sasa Arsic have already declared as investigated.

However, the investigation has revealed “two different gift payment circuits, whether they are the subway contracts, those of the City of Health or those of the Hospital City”, which converged only in some cases in the same companies, figureheads and Bank entities.

Around mid year, FCC filed two complaints with the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office on the commercial agreements signed in relation to these events, and provided 38 invoices and transfers issued between 2010 and 2014 for an amount of 82,768,849 euros, for services not provided and to cover payments for alleged corruption.

In its complaints, FCC pointed out that none of these services were provided, since it has not been possible to locate any trace of the work entrusted and paid to Mauricio Cort, a Spanish and Panamanian citizen who would only have invoiced to cover the payments of alleged corruption for the award of civil works contracts.