World Bulletin / News Desk
The founders of the law firm at the center of the "Panama Papers" scandal were being held Friday as part of a probe into a sprawling graft case involving Brazilian construction group Odebrecht.
Ramon Fonseca Mora and Juergen Mossack, named partners of the Mossack Fonseca firm, were put in preventive detention late Thursday by Panamanian authorities, one of their attorneys said.
Chief prosecutor Kenia Procell said the law firm was suspected of money-laundering and forming "a criminal organization that sought to hide assets and money of doubtful origin."
She alleged the firm also "got rid of evidence" implicating people in Brazil's "Car Wash" corruption scandal, in which the Brazilian national oil company Petrobras allegedly gave Odebrecht and other contractors inflated contracts in return for bribes.
Mossack Fonseca's attorney, Elias Solano, said there was a "lack of evidence" supporting the allegations.
On Thursday, as he turned up at the prosecutors' office to answer questions, Fonseca told reporters that Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela -- a former friend -- had confided in him that he had accepted "donations" from Odebrecht.
Varela denied the accusation, saying "there were no donations from the Odebrecht company" to his 2014 electoral campaign.
The vast data leak from the Mossack Fonseca law firm detailed how the world's wealthy stashed assets in offshore companies.
Several countries in Latin America, among them Panama, Mexico, Argentina, Peru and Uruguay, are carrying out investigations into bribes paid by Odebrecht.
In December, the Brazilian construction company agreed with the US Justice Department to pay a world record $3.5-billion fine after admitting it paid $788 million in bribes to win fat construction contracts in 12 countries.
More revelations are expected soon because current and former Odebrecht executives have signed tell-all plea deals in Brazil in exchange for lighter sentences.
In Panama, ex-president Ricardo Martinelli's son and brother are under investigation.
Israeli army frequently carries out wide-ranging arrest campaigns in the West Bank
Controversial gun accessories turn semi-automatic rifles into rapid-fire weapons
Enrique Pena Nieto offers solidarity with U.S. after devastating school shooting
We did not work well enough over the past few years, says State Department spokesperson
Antonio Ledezma, a fierce critic of President Nicolas Maduro who fled Venezuela in 2015, said that "a humanitarian intervention is justified" in the country, given the brutality of the Caracas government.
Trudeau addressed a business conference in Mumbai on Tuesday morning, attended by leaders from the Tata conglomerate, IT giants Infosys and pharmaceutical major Jubilant Life Sciences.
The incident, which caused no injuries, is the latest in a string of accidents involving the US military that have prompted concern from Japanese officials and renewed criticism of the US military presence in the country.
Rest of the tanks will be delivered in April, forming a fully armored unit, says Iraqi Army Chief of Staff
Terrorists were reportedly plotting to attack Turkish bases
Israeli army says the attack came after rocket fire from Gaza
Trump's special representative has blamed Hamas for causing "misery" in Gaza
It is still a wide-open race to succeed President Enrique Pena Nieto, who is deeply unpopular heading into the final stretch of his six-year term in a Mexico beset by endless corruption scandals and record levels of violent crime.
His comments came as he faces criticism from survivors of the attack over his ties to the powerful National Rifle Association, and after several thousand rallied in Florida to demand urgent action on gun control.
Temer came to the city to meet Governor Luiz Fernando Pezao, several ministers and General Walter Souza Braga Netto, who will lead the operation and who was in charge of coordinating security when the city hosted the 2016 Olympic Games.