Thursday, February 9, 2023

Panama hopes for children of ex-president

PANAMA ( Associated Press) – Panamanian officials were awaiting the return of the children of former President Ricardo Martinelli, who is facing trial in one of the largest corruption cases involving Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, for allegedly laundering millions of dollars in bribes from the United States. I was serving a sentence. This spooked politicians and businessmen in Latin America.

Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares and Ricardo Martinelli Linares will arrive in the country Wednesday night, an official with Panama’s national immigration service said, but was not officially authorized to speak to The Associated Press.

The return of the Martinelli brothers draws strong attention in Panama as they face a trial in August along with 34 others, including their father and former President Martinelli (2009–2014) and former President Juan Carlos Varela (2014–2019). Have to do Known locally as the “Blue Apple” for the Odebrecht case and for another alleged multimillion-dollar bribery payment.

The Central American nation of just over four million residents also entered its pre-election year with a view to May 2024 general elections in which former President Martinelli seeks to participate.

Panama’s attorney general, Javier Caraballo, told reporters a day earlier that his institution had “high hopes” for the return of the Martinelli brothers and that they face “criminal responsibility” for their actions.

To avoid arrest upon arrival in Panama, the brothers paid a bond of approximately $14 million for two counts of corruption. He was released on Tuesday after serving a three-year sentence imposed on him in May 2022 by a court in the Eastern District of Brooklyn, New York. Panama. that he is a close relative of the defendants, but he was not identified by prosecutors.

Martinellis was detained in Guatemala for 23 months before being extradited at the request of the United States between November and December 2021.


Associated Press Writer Kathia Martinez in Panama contributed to this story.

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