More names, figures as Tucanogate scandal widens
Santo Domingo.- In the raids conducted by the Office of theAnticorruption Prosecutor (Pepca) against Air Force Col. Carlos Piccini investigationof the Super Tucano aircraft case seized documents and photos of trips abroadaccompanied by some lawmakers.
The probe found that during the trips to Brazil and NewYork the group held meetings with senior executives of Brazilian planemanufacturer Embraer, which had allegedly paid a US$3.5 million bribe to secureCongressional approval of the US$93.6 million loan to buy eight Super Tucano aircraft.
Then president Leonel Fernandez received the aircraft at SanIsidro Airbase where he formally handed them to the military.
The scandal broke in 2013 when an international sireservice reported that US authorities were investigating Embraer’s alleged bribesof officials in Argentina and the Dominican Republic in return for contractsfor commercial and military aircraft.
Reuters reported investigations in Sao Paolo and Washingtonlinked to the sale of 20 passenger aircraft to Argentina’s State-owned carrier,worth around US$900.0 million, according to Embraer sale prices, and a US$92million deal for eight Super Tucanos for the Dominican Air Force.
Pepca’s investigation began in 2014 when Brazil prosecutorssent the documents on the criminal proceedings against Embraer executives inthat country, and decided to share information to the Justice Ministry on thelinks of some Dominican officials of the Caribbean country.
Pepca’s investigation and raids since February, headed byLaura Guerrero have led to indictments of former defense minister Pedro RafaelPeña Antonio, Col. Carlos Piccini, whereas the businessmen Daniel Aquino MéndezAquino and his son Daniel Hernandez await arraignment Monday.
The probe has also linked ruling PLD party senator forMirabal province Luis Rene Canaan to Piccini, in the alleged US$3.5 million bribeto secure Congress’s approval of the loan. It also names Peña as having receivedUS$100,000.
Samuel Pereyra Rojas, executive of the company SaperofaInvestment Group International, and nephew of Canaan was again called in forquestioning on Wednesday into the US$880,000 that figures in a services contractreceived in part from the Panamanian company Moneda First, SA, represented byBrazilian Eduardo Jose de Miranda.
Newspaper Hoy reports that he contract was signed in June2010.
Saperofa was incorporated under Panama laws and its office isregistered at Luis F. Thomen St., in Santo Domingo.