Martinelli tax fraud, sugar refinery sequestered by authorities

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Martinelli in better times, baila como Bernie

UPDATED BELOW - News on the Twitters! It appears that La Prensa is coming out with a big story about our beloved ex-president Ricardo Martinelli having committed massive tax fraud. That is, a company he co-owns.

The case involves sugar refinery Central Azucarero La Victoria, S.A. Here's the tweet, by La Prensa's I. Roberto Eisenmann, that started the news drip:

"Pongan atencion a noticia de mañana. Mas de 35 millones de evasion de impuestos por parte de RM."

At the same time, Alvaro Alvarado, news host of Telemetro, heard on the grapevine that the tax authority DGI was sequestering the sugar factory:

The La Victoria factory is owned by the Martinelli and Virzi families. Names involved are Ricardo Martinelli, David Virzi Jiménez and Ignacio Virzi Brignone, according to Telemetro.

La Prensa published information about the company earlier, which listed Mario Martinelli, the ex-president's brother, as the president of the corporation. Mario Martinelli is currently under investigation for yet another corruption case coming out of the Martinelli administration.

UPDATE: Ricardo Martinelli seems to confirm - and a bit upset about - the sequester of his sugar plant:

UPDATE 2: Deafening silence in La Prensa today - despite Eisenmann's jubilant announcement - about the sequester of Martinelli's sugar mill. Alvaro Alvarado seems to have dropped the subject too; nothing on Telemetro. Martinelli's own paper el Panama America, on the other hand, predictably cries foul and headlines that president Varela wants to steal the sugar. Quote:

Al parecer, el mandatario Varela intenta con esta nueva medida apoderarse del negocio del azúcar, luego de que a mediados de noviembre del año pasado la empresa Campos de Pesé se viera obligada a cerrar operaciones, dejando sin empleo a 2,200 personas.

Will the ex-president come back to Panama to take care of things? We doubt it.

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