Ex-president blames leaks on Martinelli's Pegasus equipment

A La Prensa take on Varela and Pegasus. Nartinelli's election slogan was:: In the shoes of the people.

961Views 0Comments Posted 08/11/2019

Former  Panama president, Juan Carlos Varela,  has laid the blame for the widely published leaks of his WhatsApp chats on his predecessor, Ricardo Martinelli and the “Pegasus”  spying equipment purchased during Martinelli’s reign.

In a phone interview with TV Metro from Shanghai on Friday, November 7  he said that his private communications were distorted, altered and disclosed without his consent while claiming that Martinelli was the main architect of the plot.

Varela said that it has been observed that  “people close to former President Martinelli  first announced and disseminated on social networks and instant messaging, as the existence of the website with altered and manipulated texts with the clear intention of causing damage "

“I have not lost any cell phone. This proves what Panama already knows about the purchase, illegal use and subsequent disappearance of Pegasus telephone interception equipment, acquired during the administration of former President Ricardo Martinelli, ”said  Varela, who left power last June.

According to Varela:” The possible relationship between Martinelli and his relatives with the suppliers of the equipment would have allowed him to continue intervening illegally beyond his mandate and it is clear that this practice could continue at this time.

"If the phone number of an acting President could be intervened, it is clear that any Panamanian, be it, president, deputy, judge, journalist, businessman or civil society is today vulnerable and at the mercy of a criminal organization," he said.

He added that despite all the manipulation observed on the anonymous website that claims to contain conversations made by him as acting president of the Republic with relatives, officials and individuals, it is clear that as president he never crossed or cross the line in illegal acts.

"Fighting corruption and the corrupt is a difficult task that requires a lot of poise," he said.

He added that in addition to violating the privacy of Panamanians, his private conversations and those of many others, have been taken out of context.

Varela said he is  evaluating  the situation with the purpose of filing legal actions for the obvious commission of a crime of violation of privacy

Martinelli was charged with illegal wiretapping and extradited from the United States but was found not guilty. The decision of three judges has been called flawed and is under appeal.

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