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.
Fifty-seven people injured in clashes, 12 taken to hospital, says Palestinian Red Crescent
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Catalonia's pro-independence regional government plans to hold a secession vote in the wealthy northeastern region on October 1, in defiance of Spain's central government in Madrid which has repeatedly said such a vote would violate the constitution.
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"We shall not accept lessons and still less threats such as those we have heard from our neighbours in recent days," said Gentiloni.
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Two other fighters of pro-government Shia militia were injured in attack
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The legislation, which was pushed through by parliament Wednesday, was approved by 55 senators, with 23 opposed and two abstentions.
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"Secretary Mattis has informed congressional defense committees that he was not able to certify that Pakistan has taken sufficient actions against the Haqqani network to permit full reimbursement of Fiscal Year 2016 Coalition Support Funds," Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said.
The inflation rate slowed from the 1.3 percent seen in May, and 1.6 percent in April, the Statistics Canada data showed.