RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Panamanian Foreign Ministry received from a local court the request to seek the extradition of two sons of former Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014). It will communicate the petition to the judicial powers of Guatemala, where both have been imprisoned for more than a year.
On Tuesday (10) the Panamanian Foreign Minister, Érika Mouynes, said that the Panamanian court now has “60 days to formalize the extradition request” of Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares.
The two sons of the former Panamanian president have been detained for more than a year in Guatemala at the request of the United States, which is requesting their extradition for their alleged involvement in a bribery scheme involving the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.
Last May, the Fifth Criminal Sentencing Court of Guatemala authorized the extradition of Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares to the United States.
In Panama, the Martinelli brothers are charged with money laundering in a case known as “Blue Apple”, and Judge Baloisa Marquínez, head of the Third Court of Criminal Cases of the First Judicial Circuit of Panama, where the preliminary hearing has been taking place since last week, said she requested their extradition.
“In the afternoon of yesterday (Monday), we received the notification from the judge requesting the preventive detention with a view to extradition. The Chancellery is the channel through which both jurisdictional authorities communicate. We will proceed with the notification request to the Guatemalan judicial body”, said Mouynes to the Panamanian channel Telemetro.
She added that the Panamanian judge “now has 60 days to formalize the extradition request”, which we will also “follow up” by delivering it to the relevant Guatemalan authorities, added the Panamanian Foreign Minister.
A total of 54 citizens are charged with committing the crimes of money laundering, corruption of civil servants, illicit association to commit crimes, and forgery in the “Blue Apple” case, a scheme of payment of bribes in exchange for contracts with the state involving local and foreign companies.
This case started in September 2017 and involves “more than US$82 million that were used for money laundering,” said last Thursday the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Panama.