The Attorney General will not stop investigating the businessman and shareholder of Telconet, Tomislav Topic, for a possible money laundering and for embezzlement. “The fact that Mr. Topic has offered to repay USD 13.5 million does not imply that he excludes himself from liability,” said Ruth Palacios, acting attorney general, yesterday (January 15, 2019).
Her reaction came a day after Diana Salazar, director of the Financial Analysis Unit (UAFE), reported on an agreement signed by Topic. Through this agreement, he promised to deliver the money to the State, as he acknowledged that his company received it in 2012 from the offshore Glory, used by Odebrecht to pay bribes. “The Office of the Prosecutor does its job and we will determine if the Lord is responsible or not,” the Prosecutor added at a press conference.
Minutes before he met with Iván Granda, undersecretary of Political Action. He handed her Topic’s letter-commitment and a report of unusual and unjustified financial transactions of Topic, dated to 2017. The Director of the UAFE did not show up at the offices of the Office of the Prosecutor.
The appointment with Granda lasted 10 minutes. Then, the prosecutor Palacios revealed that she had no knowledge of this agreement and that she does not know the conditions with which it was given or what the employer “intends” today. “The Office of the Prosecutor is the owner of the criminal action and only with the Office of the Prosecutor can agree what in the process may happen,” she said.
She said that if the return of funds is specified, they would be considered as reparation to the State. “It is not an effective collaboration or contribution to the process.” The criminal Paulina Araujo finds it strange how the agreement was given. “It is understood that if there is a crime that is being investigated, any information should be given to the Office of the Prosecutor … But the discussion, beyond whether or not Topic had to sign with the UAFE, what we should demand is that the justice begin to move criminal proceedings.”
In fact, in the file of course washed, of November of the 2017, the fiscal Ruth Amoroso requested that charges against Topic, his son Jan and Ricardo Rivera, uncle of the ex vice president Jorge Glas be accused.
Later, Diana Salazar, then prosecutor of the case, requested that the hearing be revoked and the case be left in prior investigation. She said that she would have more time to investigate quietly. Then, in September 2018, prosecutor César Suárez took the case and requested a date to file charges against Rivera.
In the same month, the prosecutor Ivonne Proaño again requested that the hearing be suspended and ordered new versions and proceedings. Prosecutor Palacios acknowledges that there is a delay in the investigation. “We are advancing diligences and we already have processes about to be resolved.”
For the criminalist Gabriel Ponce, the agreement of Topic with the UAFE had to be made with the knowledge of the Prosecutor, especially if the objective was to collaborate with the justice. He emphasizes that within the investigations, this agreement is further evidence and that the investigators, through expert reports, must establish if those funds were from Odebrecht and if the employer did not know where they came from. “If it were proven that he knew of the illegal origin, then it is a case of money laundering.”
The inconsistencies with the ‘offshore’ Glory International Industry
Glory International Industry, offshore used to channel the payment of bribes of Odebrecht for Ricardo Rivera and Jorge Glas, had just three years of life. It was constituted on December 19, 2011 in the Marshall Islands, a tax haven, with a capital of USD 50,000, and was dissolved in August 2014. Majuro Nominees Ltd. was the agent that managed its opening and its name is the only thing that appears in the constitution record.
Within the process of illicit association against Glas and Rivera, the businessman Tomislav Topic presented to the Prosecutor’s Office an alleged agreement to purchase shares of Cable Andino Inc. (Bahamas) by Glory, for USD 34 million, on April 4 of 2012. Cable Andino is part of the PCCS consortium, which operates the submarine cable.
These signatures are included in the documents attached at the end. Jan Topic, his son, signs this agreement without owning or representing Cable Andino. The owner was Telconet at that date, according to the Superintendence of Companies. And at that time Jan was part of the French Legion.
In his version to the Prosecutor’s Office, he said that he negotiated with Glory by videoconference in France, China and Ecuador. In this agreement, Michael Yin signs on behalf of Glory, but in the document this ‘offshore’ is like “Glory”.
In addition, the name of Glory’s director is Haiyong Yin, whose rubric differs from that of the agreement. This is observed in the criminal assistance of the Marshall Islands, on January 5, 2018. Glory’s money finally did not end up in Cable Andino but in Telconet, according to the agreement itself. (I)