Panama Noriega's Money Machine

His former aides tell of corruption on a grand scale

For two days he sat bent toward a microphone under glaring television lights, a small man with gray hair and rimless glasses who could pass for an apothecary. In fact, Jose I. Blandon had been chief political adviser to one of the most corrupt dictators in Latin America, General Manuel Antonio Noriega of Panama. Testifying before a Senate investigative subcommittee last week, Blandon said Noriega and his henchmen had turned Panama into a "criminal empire," a "gigantic machine" that generated hundreds of millions of dollars through drug trafficking, money laundering and gunrunning.

Blandon's disclosures came just days after U.S. grand juries...

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