The tracks ended joining in December of 2017. After the sentence against former Vice President Jorge Glas and his uncle Ricardo Rivera, the Attorney General announced that he had already located a portion of the bribes that Odebrecht paid to officials of the previous government.
He said they were hidden in “private works.” This was the case of submarine cable, a structure built between 2013 and 2015, which provides Internet service in Ecuador and whose investment is about USD 300 million. On Monday, January 14, 2019, 13 months after the announcement, Tomislav Topic confirmed that his firm Telconet invested USD 13.5 million that came from Odebrecht in that megaproject.
He says he was unaware of the illicit origin of the funds and that “as a test of good faith” he commits to deliver the values to the State. The announcement of this news was made in a press conference in which Juan Sebastián Roldán, Private Secretary of the Presidency; Iván Granda, undersecretary of Political Action; and Diana Salazar, director of the Financial Analysis Unit (UAFE).
This entity endorsed the Topic agreement. According to Salazar, the agreement was based on an attribution that the UAFE has to recover the proceeds of illicit assets. The Attorney General’s Office does not appear in the document. For the criminal lawyers Luis Fernández and Gustavo Medina, the agreement had to be made through the Prosecutor’s Office. “What there is, is an agreement with a state entity that has no legal effect,” said Fernandez. The entity indicated that it will decide today (January 15, 2019) on this case.
Medina adds that the delivery of this money does not absolve Topic. “This is the second amount that returns, but that does not mean impunity. The Office of the Prosecutor must investigate and a judge, dictate a sentence. “
In August 2017, Topic delivered USD 2.5 million. This agreement was finalized with the then prosecutor Diana Salazar. He said that the money had arrived in 2010 from an unknown sender. In his version, he pointed out that in 2010, through Rivera, the sale to Odebrecht of data with the old Pan American cable in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Panama was negotiated. The cost was USD 2 million plus a commission of the same value for Rivera.
This business, he said, did not materialize, although they received an advance of USD 1.98 million. It was asked to pay the advance to the company Cosmac, creditor of Telconet, but it did not receive a transfer from Odebrecht but from Constructora del Sur, ‘offshore’ to pay bribes. This Monday, in a statement, Topic explains how the USD 13.5 million came to Telconet.
He assures that in 2012 his company partnered with some Chinese investors to finalize the construction of the submarine cable. “As usual in international business, we made the rigorous inquiries regarding Chinese investors, with the aim of confirming the legal origin of the funds.” These inquiries, according to him, consisted of asking other partners if they knew Glory International. “We found out with other Chinese partners of the fiber optic factory …,” Topic said.
This newspaper asked: Did they tell you that Glory International Industry was a company with a track record? “(They told us) that one of the shareholders was known, Hong Kong billionaire. Unfortunately, we learned recently that it was a namesake, “he replied. Michael Ying? “Yes,” he said. In the statements he and his son Jan have given to the Prosecutor’s Office, they stated that they met Michael Ying through Ricardo Rivera and that the relationship was via videoconference.
Now, the businessman maintains that Ying does exist and that the conversations held with him “have been corroborated in the Criminal Assistance recently received by the Prosecutor’s Office”. Assures that with the Criminal Assistance “we have been practically exculpated”. But in the Prosecutor’s Office there are still two investigations against Topic and Rivera. The first is for money laundering through the submarine cable. There is another clue that is still being researched and is that Topic in 2014 created a firm in the USA and named it Glory International Industry Co. Why the same name? “Because within the Chinese culture the names of the Companies are important and we needed, in order to buy the raw material, an acceptable name “, says Topic and clarifies that his ‘offshore’ never operated.
The second investigation is for possible influence peddling in the award of two contracts to provide Internet to public schools. For jurist Mauricio Pacheco, the delivery of information and funds by Telconet will serve to clarify the route of money. But it clarifies that the type of agreement, outside the Office of the Prosecutor, would only have a mitigating effect.
That is to say, that in case of having a sentence, the prison sentence could be reduced. The money route Glory’s USD 13.5 million was transferred to Jan Topic’s accounts at Merrill Lynch between 2012 and 2013, but José Santos, Odebrecht’s informer, confessed that he delivered USD 16.1 millions in transfers and in cash.
That difference of 2.6 million is still being investigated. This money, in turn, was transferred to Telconet, which also has accounts in Merril Linch, and was recorded in the company’s financial statements as “contributions for future capitalization.” For this reason, Jan received shares and Rivera, on the other hand, obtained a commission of USD 5.7 million in services for satellite TV.
The Superintendence of Companies, led by Suad Manzur, authorized the first capital increase of Telconet in October 2012 for USD 6.1 million and the second of USD 7 million, registered in the Mercantile Register, in July 2015. The facts June 2, 2017 Ricardo Rivera, uncle of former Vice President Jorge Glas, was arrested at his home in Guayaquil and charged by the Prosecutor’s Office for the crime of conspiracy. July 17, 2017 Tomislav Topic rendered a version in the Office of the Prosecutor.
There he said that he delivered USD 5.7 million in Internet services to Televisión Satelital, Rivera’s company. December 13, 2017 The National Court sentences Jorge Glas and Ricardo Rivera to six years in prison.
The entity confirmed that Rivera was a beneficiary of the offshore Glory. November 20, 2017 The Office of the Prosecutor requested that a date be set for filing charges against Rivera, Tomislav Topic and Jan Topic. A month later he requested that his order be revoked.
September 17, 2018
The lawyer of Tamar Verduga, ex-wife of Topic father, gave information to the Prosecutor’s Office. He said that Telconet received USD 16.1 million from Odebrecht. (I)