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.
"For me, the future of the (remaining) 27 member states comes before the exit negotiations with Great Britain" said Merkel, Europe's most influential leader, as she arrived for the two-day meeting.
Turkey seeks to ‘tighten Muslim grip on Temple Mount’, prominent Israeli daily asserts
"A number of these tests have come back as combustible," May said in a statement to parliament after ordering checks on all similar blocks.
Kiev, Europe closer than even before says Ukrainian president
Otto Warmbier, 22, suffered severe brain damage in North Korea and died on Monday following 18 months of captivity in North Korea after he was sentenced to hard labor for stealing a political poster from a hotel.
The giant blaze broke out initially at Pedrogao Grande and spread to adjacent areas including Gois, Pampilhosa da Serra and Arganil.
"Because no one has introduced me to his legitimate successor," said the French president, who took office last month.
The magazine said it had seen documents showing that the intelligence service, the BND, had a list of some 4,000 so-called selector keywords for surveillance between 1998 and 2006.
Although no date has been set for such a vote, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said the National Assembly speaker had the authority to order a secret ballot in a case brought by the country's opposition parties.
Barely three months ago, Schulz, the new head of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), seemed to be the man most likely to topple Merkel, who is running for a fourth term.
Speaking ahead of an EU summit in Brussels where Prime Minister Theresa May was due to brief leaders on her Brexit plans, Tusk suggested the process could still be reversed.
Exchanges of fire could be heard in the eastern part of the city, with an army spokesman confirming a gun battle had broken out between troops and a new rebel group.
'You represent the spirit of Nabra,' Imam tells multiethnic, multireligious gathering
More than 5M children in need of urgent humanitarian aid, UN warns
Mike Pence hopes both sides ‘will reach deal to ‘reunify’ Cypress