New prosecutor ordered more diligences at the end of investigation for money laundering in Odebrecht case
The hearing to formulate charges for money laundering in the Odebrecht case – initially scheduled for tomorrow – could be postponed, once the new prosecutor in charge of the investigation, Ivonne Proaño, ordered more proceedings; among them, to receive the free and non-sworn versions of Amparo Gómez, ex-wife of Ricardo Rivera, and of Tamar Verduga, who is in the process of divorcing Tomislav Topic, owner of Telconet.
This case was derived from the sentence for illicit association that took former Vice President Jorge Glas and his uncle Ricardo Rivera to jail.
Tomislav Topic was not linked in the investigations of the Prosecutor’s Office. However, her divorce from Tamar Verduga, which is in the final stage in Miami (USA), has brought more information to the case, according to her lawyers.
Both Topic’s defense and Verduga’s defense agree that there were transfers between 2012 and 2013 for $ 16 million from Glory International Industry Company Limited to the accounts of Jan Topic, son of Tomislav’s first marriage and also shareholder of Telconet. Of that amount, $ 14 million was used by Jan to increase his participation in the company.
At least $ 5 million came to Glory from Constructora Internacional del Sur, created by Odebrecht for the payment of bribes.
At the beginning of 2012, Telconet was looking for financing for the submarine cable project (Cable Andino) at the same time that, in Quito, Rivera met with lawyer José Alvear Icaza (deceased in 2014) to handle certain payments from Glory, owned by the Chinese Tong Juanchung (70%) and Michael Ying (30%).
According to Topics version, Alvear had contacts with Chinese companies and Rivera, with them. The uncle of the then vice president connected the alleged investors with Telconet to invest in Cable Andino. Glory opened an account at the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank.
Topic accepted and of the $ 30 million offered as an investment, $ 16 million became effective. In return, the Chinese company would receive 10% of the shares of Cable Andino, for which Jan put its shares as collateral.
In 2015, then-Assemblyman Andrés Páez denounced that Glory had transferred $ 22.8 million to Rivera and Alvear. Then the Odebrecht network was not known in Ecuador, but the management of Glory alerted by the amounts and by the proximity of Rivera with Glas.
According to the documents of the divorce trial, Jan used the $ 14 million in two capital increases (2012 and 2015) and became the largest shareholder of Telconet.
By then, Tomislav’s divorce trial had begun, in which Tamar claimed his share of the conjugal partnership. How much is it? Precisely, that is the family dispute to date, because after the history of the Chinese the capital of the company Topic-Verduga was reduced from the initial 100% to 17.4%.
With the ruling against Glas, Rivera and others involved, in December 2017, the Court ordered the investigation of other crimes derived from the Odebrecht network; among them, bribery or money laundering.
In a letter of August of this year, Tamar Verduga reminds prosecutor Paúl Pérez Reina of his “victim’s quality” of the alleged crime of money laundering or money laundering in which “my participation in Telconet SA was diluted, through the injection of funds of illicit origin …, (with) capital increases where the shares of the conjugal company Topic-Verduga ended up in the hands of Jan Topic Feraud “.
The position of Topic is to separate the judgment of divorce and the dispute of the conjugal society from what happens with the investigations on the Odebrecht-Glas-Rivera-Telconet relationship.
In 2017, the Prosecutor’s Office already called Tomislav and Jan Topic to testify in the process for the crime of illicit association. Both – owners of one of the largest telecommunications companies in Latin America – were not linked.
The formulation of charges or not against the Topic is in the hands of Prosecutor Proaño, who since September 10 replaces César Suárez.
The visa to travel to the United States was revoked by Tomislav Topic. The Consulate did not specify details, but informed him that he has new information about his legal situation.
In early September, the Office of the Prosecutor requested the date for the filing of charges against Ricardo Rivera for money laundering in the Odebrecht case. (I)