Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Panama leader denies Italy bribery accusations

April 21, 2012

PANAMA CITY – Panama’s President Ricardo Martinelli denied his government received bribes from a fugitive linked to a sex and corruption case involving former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Newspaper editor Valter Lavitola, arrested in Naples, Italy, this week upon his arrival from Argentina, is under investigation for allegedly having bribed Panama officials, Italy’s Corriere della Sera reported.

Lavitola, who was arrested in connection with a ring accused of supplying prostitutes to Berlusconi, allegedly handed members of the Panamanian government suitcases full of cash to secure construction contracts for third parties.

Martinelli adamantly denied the accusations, calling them a “journalistic invention aimed at tarnishing my image and the image of Panama,” during a press conference late Thursday.

“I am sure this soap opera will end soon, and at the end of soap operas, good always wins out and the truth is known,” he said.

Lavitola allegedly took part in a blackmail plot against Berlusconi, and police had issued a warrant for his arrest in September last year.

Eight people, including businessman Giampaolo Tarantini and German starlet Sabina Began, were charged in September for allegedly supplying Berlusconi with prostitutes in the hope of gaining jobs, contracts or favors in exchange.

Tarantini is accused of then blackmailing the billionaire premier to the tune of $1 million.

Lavitola is suspected of having been the middleman for these payments, according to prosecutors.

He had reportedly called Berlusconi from South America asking whether he should return and “clear everything up” but was told to stay put until the scandal had blown over, according to wiretaps published in the Italian media.

You may be interested

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Tuesday, September 29
Costa Rica
5576 views
Costa Rica
5576 views

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Tuesday, September 29

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 29, 2020

Costa Rica announced 19 new coronavirus-related deaths over the last day for a total of 880, according to official data…

Costa Rica says coronavirus measures continue in October
Costa Rica
21085 views
Costa Rica
21085 views

Costa Rica says coronavirus measures continue in October

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 29, 2020

President Carlos Alvarado and the National Emergency Commission (CNE) on Tuesday  announced Costa Rica's coronavirus measures will continue in October. The…

These are the requirements to enter Costa Rica as a tourist
Costa Rica
2338 views
Costa Rica
2338 views

These are the requirements to enter Costa Rica as a tourist

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 29, 2020

Costa Rica is currently welcoming tourists from select countries and U.S. states. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Costa Rica has…