Panama president linked to SAP bribery case

indexThe former president of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli might have been involved in a bribery scheme that helped SAP to sell millions of dollars in software to Panama.

According to Reuters, being SAP’s business partner is just one of the crimes that the former president faces at the moment.  He says they are all politically motivated.

The main case was against Vicente Garcia, a former executive at SAP, the German soutfit which makes esoteric business software which no -one is really sure what it does.

Garcia, 65, was sentenced to 22 months in prison on December 16 by a US court in the Northern District of California, after pleading guilty to conspiring to bribe Panamanian officials to secure contracts for SAP software.

Judge Charles R. Breyer’s told Garcia to avoid contact with “any co-conspirator in this case,” naming Martinelli and six others, as a condition of his future supervised release.

Martinelli has not been charged with any wrongdoing in Garcia’s case in fact his brief claims the former president had never met Garcia.

SAP fired Garcia in April 2014 and is cooperating in the ongoing investigation. The US Securities and Exchange Commission said Garcia “circumvented SAP’s internal controls” to fund the bribe payments.

Garcia admitted using bribe payments to secure a software contract to update technology for Panama’s social security agency. The scheme, which ran from 2009 until 2013, won an SAP reseller a $14.5 million contract. SAP itself received around $2.1 million in software sales thanks to the bribes, according to court records.