RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The defense of Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares, son of former Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014), filed several legal appeals in Guatemala to try to stop his extradition to the United States, according to judicial sources on Thursday.
Martinelli Linares’ lawyers filed three appeals against the decision of the Fifth Court of the Guatemalan Judiciary, which on May 25 ordered his extradition to the US, where he is wanted for money laundering in the Odebrecht case.
Of the three legal resources presented, one of them argues that there is an “unconstitutionality” in the judicial process against Martinelli Linares, and the other two point out that the son of the former Panamanian president has immunity as a member of the Central American Parliament, as confirmed by sources of the judicial body.
Luis Enrique, 38, and his older brother, Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares, 40, whose extradition process is still ongoing, were arrested in Guatemala on July 6, 2020, at the request of the US due to the alleged crime of money laundering during their father’s term.
The Martinelli Linares brothers were about to leave Guatemala on a private flight when they were captured at the request of the US after about a year of being unaccounted for.
According to the indictment of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the Martinelli Linares are responsible for the crime of conspiracy to commit money laundering and two crimes of concealment of information to that effect, between 2009 and 2015, for amounts of less than one million dollars.
The extradition date for Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares will be determined soon by the judicial authorities of the Central American country, pending the resolution of the judicial appeals filed seeking to prevent his transfer to the US.
Ricardo Alberto, whose case is currently being processed in the Third Court of the Guatemalan Judicial Organism, is also accused in the United States of two additional charges derived from the expenditure of the laundered money.
The two Panamanian nationals were elected in 2019 as alternate deputies to the Central American Parliament for their country but were never sworn in.