Panama Asks The US To Hand Over The Seized Money To The Martinellis

Panama asked the United States to return the money it seized from the two sons of the country’s former president Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) who pleaded guilty before a US court to the laundering of $ 28 million from the bribes of the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.

The Panamanian Prosecutor’s Office reported this Wednesday that on December 10, it formally communicated to the US Department of Justice the interest of Panama “as a victim of crime”, in having the money from the crimes or any sum equivalent to the goods or proceeds of crime that have been, or in the future, will be seized “ in this case.

Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares were extradited by Guatemala to the United States and there they pleaded guilty in the scheme of bribery and money laundering related to Odebrecht through agreements with the United States Attorney’s Office that include the delivery of more than 18 million dollars. for a fine.

Both brothers are accused of participating “in bribery payments made by and under the direction of Odebrecht to a high-ranking official at the time of the Government of Panama, who was a close relative of the accused,” whose identity has not been disclosed.

After more than 16 months in prison in Guatemala, where they were detained when they tried to arrive in Panama, the Martinellis were extradited to the United States: Luis Enrique on November 15 and Ricardo Alberto on December 10.

In processes taking place in the courts of the Eastern District of New York, Luis Enrique pleaded guilty at a hearing on December 2 and Ricardo Alberto did so on Tuesday, thus facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The Public Ministry (MP, Prosecutor’s Office) of Panama reported this Wednesday that at the hearing on Tuesday, corresponding to the case of Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares, the Senior Prosecutor for International Affairs, Agustín Almario Castillo, was present.

He also recalled that in Panama there is a criminal proceeding against the Martinelli brothers for the Odebrecht bribery scheme, which is currently “pending the preliminary hearing”, and which includes “international legal assistance.

For the Odebrecht case in Panama, the Prosecutor’s Office asked to call to trial fifty people, including former President Martinelli, his two children, and former President Juan Carlos Varela.

The Odebrecht company was convicted in 2017 in a New York court for the payment of 788 million dollars in bribes in 12 countries in Latin America and Africa.

The payments were made in relation to “more than 100 projects in 12 countries, including Angola, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Mozambique, Panama, Peru and Venezuela,” according to court documents.

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