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Panamanian Supreme Court Judge Resigns Amid Corruption Allegations

LADB Article ID: 79709
Category/Department: Panama
Date: 2015-07-23
By: Louisa Reynolds

Judge Victor Benavides resigned from the Corte Suprema de Justicia (CSJ) on June 19 after he was accused by Panamanian authorities of money laundering, illicit enrichment, and child abuse. Benavides is the second judge to be forced to step down as a result of a corruption scandal in the past 12 months. The former president of the CSJ, Alejandro Moncada Luna, was sentenced to five years in prison in March after pleading guilty to corruption charges. On May 7, a special commission appointed by the Asamblea Nacional (AN) voted to strip Judge Benavides of his prosecutorial immunity so that he could be investigated for corruption. The investigation into Benavides’ alleged involvement in corruption is based on allegations made by his former bodyguard, who is serving a 15-year sentence in the Veraguas prison facility for kidnapping Benavides’ mother. Benavides rejects the claims and says they are part of a vendetta launched by his former employee, Vicente Caballero Zamorano. However, the prosecutor investigating his case, José Alberto Rosas, says the state has enough evidence to bring charges against him.

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