August 5, 2015 / 3:38 AM / 4 years ago

Panama calls for top court to cancel $125 mln Finmeccanica contract

PANAMA CITY, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Panama’s government has filed a lawsuit seeking the Supreme Court to cancel a $125 million contract with Italy’s Finmeccanica that was signed under former President Ricardo Martinelli, citing corruption concerns.

Authorities suspended the contract last year, flagging suspected bribery and stating that the 19 radars ordered from Silex, a subsidiary of the Italian firm in the country, do not meet the requirements for ocean anti-drug surveillance.

Panamanian President’s chief-of-staff Alvaro Aleman said the goal of the lawsuit was for the government to receive compensation for damages associated with the contract.

Silex did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Aleman added that the lawsuit will include other contracts with Finmeccanica for the purchase of six helicopters and a digital map.

Martinelli, who has been abroad since January, has three cases pending in the Panamanian justice system for embezzlement of public funds, wiretapping and illegal pardons during his tenure from 2009 to 2014. (Reporting by Elida Moreno; Editing by Anand Basu)

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