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The attempts at translation of mainstream media articles by Newsroom Panama are pitiful.

Retributions ..wait for them.

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Appeals to Supreme Court against “shameful” trial ruling


Posted 13/08/2019

The group of lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the wiretapping  case  against former president Ricardo Martinelli will present an appeal to the  Supreme Court against the verdict of not guilty handed down by judges he had appointed to different well-paid posts during his administration

The appeal will be filed before the Second Chamber of the Supreme Court. while the appeal for annulment will be brought before the High Court of Justice.

On August 9, in a unanimous ruling, a trial court found Martinelli not guilty of the accusations of alleged political and peculated espionage and lifted all the precautionary measures against him.

The court  also ruled out the precautionary measure of house arrest, but maintained the impediment of leaving the country until the sentence was formally read, on August 26 at 4:00 pm Before  he was behind bars  for two years, : one year at the Miami Federal Detention Center and another at the El Renacer prison . Since June 11, he was under house arrest.

The judges considered that the prosecution could not prove "the theory of the case" and that various inconsistencies were observed.

The lawyer of the complainant Mauro Zuñiga, Carlos Herrera Morán, said Tuesday, August 13 at a press conference at the National Bar Association that the not-guilty ruling fills the Panamanian nation with shame.

According to Herrera Morán, it was an unfair and divorced sentence of the Constitution and the law. "That it is based on an unconfessable situation on the part of the three judges."

Herrera Morán recalled that in the intermediate stage of the process following Martinelli, the statement of the protected witness was declared legal.

He added that that is why the protected witness is admitted to the oral trial stage. "And these judges appointed by hand come out ... to say that the testimony of the protected witness was of illegal descent."

Judges Roberto Tejeira, Arlene Caballero and Raúl Vergara  constituted the court of the wiretaps oral trial.



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Supreme Court Judge claims blackmail attempt


Posted 15/08/2019

Supreme Court Judge  Harry Díaz who acted as prosecutor in the intermediate phase of the wiretapping trial of former president Ricardo Martinelli said  on Wednesday, August 15  that he had been subjected to an extortion attempt by the Martinell lawyers.  

In an interview with Telemetro, Díaz said that on one occasion the lawyer Sidney Sittón - part of the defense team sent him a text message, in which he recommended leaving the country if Democratic Change won the elections.

Díaz said that Sitton also invited him to parties in which women participated while the Martinelli case was ongoing.

He also said that once Sitton tried to present a Venezuelan citizen named Velkis Montaño, and even had her take a gift book to his office at the Gil Ponce Courthouse, Supreme Court] which, however, he had to  be delivered to his staff , because he was at a medical appointment, but she then called him at the office several times, to alert him that this group - lawyers of Martinelli - was trying to set  a trap.

Díaz demanded that the woman make a written statement, in which she relates that they intended to threaten him and that Sitton paid her $3,000 to contact him and record the day he took the book.

He saidn that at that time he did not make the facts public because he did not want to affect Sitton's family; However, now, by making a public statement, the Public Ministry can initiate an ex officio investigation.

Díaz, in addition, described as false an alleged complaint of sexual harassment filed against him by lawyer Roniel Ortiz - also of the Martinelli defense team -, and said that such legal action was for alleged labor harassment of an official who, as he warned, he had to move from his office to another office, since he did not have room.

Meanwhile, Díaz said there was negligence or corruption the decision of judges Roberto Tejeira, Arlene Caballero and Raúl Vergara, who on August 9 declared Martinelli not guilty of crimes against the inviolability of secrecy and peculation.

Díaz, who acted as a prosecutor until the intermediate phase of the process followed by Martinelli, said that the judges did not enter to assess the merits of the admitted evidence.

He stressed that in the ruling in which the Supreme Court declined the jurisdiction of the Martinelli case to the ordinary sphere, the validity of the evidence incorporated into the process was established, but these were not duly assessed by the judges in their ruling.

Disciplinary case
According to Díaz, the three judges who acted in the Martinelli trial may be subject to disciplinary proceedings, since they ignored decisions of the Supreme Court of Justice related to the case.

He stressed that he is surprised that the judges have mentioned in the decision of violations of due process, despite the fact that the Court had already validated all the evidence and actions of the judge of guarantees - Jerome Mejia - and the prosecutor.

Diaz said that the Court resolved a large number of appeals filed by Martinelli's defense for alleged violations of the process, and all those actions were rejected.



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Judge files disciplinary complaint against Martineli lawyer


Judge Harry Díaz was the prosecutor of Ricardo Martinelli's process until the intermediate phase

Posted 21/08/2019

Supreme Court Judge  Harry Diaz , has presented, a disciplinary complaint against Roniel Ortiz, before the Court of Honor of the National Bar Association (CNA).

Díaz - who presented the action personally on Wednesday, August 21 - supports the complaint of the alleged slander and disrespect that Ortiz has expressed against him, in different media.

Ortiz is a lawyer for former president Ricardo Martinelli, for whom Díaz - acting as a magistrate - asked for a sentence of up to 21 years in prison for alleged political and peculated espionage. Martinelli was declared "not guilty" and the formal reading of the sentence is scheduled for August 26.

On August 14, in an interview with Telemetro, Díaz reported having been subjected to an extortion attempt by former president Martinelli's lawyers, during the wiretapping trial. Subsequently, Martinelli's spokesman, Luis Eduardo Camacho, filed a criminal complaint against Díaz before the National Assembly, for the alleged commission of the crime against public administration, in the form of crime against public servants and against a judicial servant.



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Court denies live transmisssion of Martinelli verdict reading


Posted 26/08/2019

A request  by  the lawyer representing one of the victims of wiretapping during the Martinelli administration  that the  reading the sentence of not guilty to  former president Ricardo Martinelli was squahed  by order of the president of the court of oral trial, Judge Roberto Tejeira  on Monday morning, August 26

The petition was filed by lawyer Carlos Herrera Morán , who represents the complainant Mauro Zuñiga .

Tejeira, told the assistant to Herrera Morán who  presented the document, argued that on August 9 he had already communicated that he was not obliged to transmit the hearings.

According to Herrera Morán, "Judge Tejeira is afraid that citizens will know how they will square the ruling." 

The petition was made by the lawyer in order to comply with the principles of publicity and transparency, based on the Constitution and the law.

On Friday, August 9, the  court, composed of Judges Tejeira, Arlene Caballero and Raúl Vergara, declared Martinelli not guilty of the crimes of political and peculated espionage.

After reading both the complainants and the Prosecutor's Office against Organized Crime, who was in charge of the process, will have a deadline to present appeals against the sentence.

 There are two ways for this type of case. First to file an appeal for annulment and second to file an appeal, although the same party cannot file both actions says La Prensa.

The appeal for annulment is filed with the Superior Court of Appeals and must be announced two days after the sentence is read.

The appeal is brought before the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice and announced three days after the judges read the sentence and is sustained after 15 days.

The three judges in his sentence argued in his sentence that while there are indications that illegal activities were carried out from the National Security Council, there is a reasonable doubt about Martinelli's link to these facts.

Herrera Morán, meanwhile, alleged at that time that the Public Prosecutor duly upheld the alleged crimes charged to Martinelli.

The lawyer described as "aberrant and absurd" the decision of the three judges of the court of oral trial.


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Martinelli walks free, fall guys get 80 months


Martinelli arrived for the whitewash reading with a gaggle of chattering supporters

Posted 27/08/2019

The Public Ministry failed to prove what,  when first initiated was believed to have been an open and shut case of illegal interception of communications of at least 150 political opponents, journalists, businessmen and lawyers by former president Ricardo Martinelli.

That was the conclusion of judges Roberto Tejeira, Raúl Vergara and Arlene Caballero, who formed the trial court, and on last August 9 resulted in a declaration of not guilty.

 The sentence was read on the night of August 26.

Martinelli faced a sentence of up to 21 years in prison for the alleged commission of four crimes: the inviolability of secrecy and the right to privacy, and two forms of speculation (use and embezzlement). However, the judges considered that, with respect to the first two crimes, , there was no evidence that these wiretaps were illegal reports La Prensa.

For the same acts for which Martinelli was acquitted, Alejandro Garuz and Gustavo Pérez, both directors of the National Security Council in their government, were sentenced each to 80 months in prison.

The prosecutor's office - always according to the judges - did not even prove that there were interceptions of the communications, nor did it  properly accredit the use of spy equipment, specifically the so-called Pegasus system. Nor was the financial involvement of the State with respect to the loss of the Pegasus equipment substantiated through an audit, nor was an inventory of the assets stolen from the National Security Council  (CSN) presented, which supports the accusation of the crimes of peculation.

As for MLM Protection, this system - and its Circle program - is not part of the accused, as stated in the written sentence read by the judges.The reading of the 177-page  sentence - of 11 took four hours and 35 minutes.  In a "meticulous" way, each of the testimonial, expert and documentary evidence presented in the act of oral trial, which formally began last March 12, is detailed. according to the Judicial Branch.

"In the development of the trial, specifically at the beginning of the stage of probation evacuation, a series of incidents arose regarding some evidence," says the ruling.

Confidential info
For example, they refer to the seven booklets with confidential information of the victims of espionage, and whose access was declared confidential by the Supreme Court of. In the intermediate stage of the process, Judge Jerónimo Mejía - acting as judge of guarantees - authorized a member of the defense - Carlos Carrillo, coordinator of the Martinelli team of lawyers - to review the contents of the bookss. But according to  the Court Judges Tejeira, Caballero and Vergara, this decision by Mejía prevented the defense from preparing for the contradictory in the trial or practicing expert evidence.

They also mention Ishmael Pitti, alias "Brad", a former CSN agent assigned to espionage tasks and who at all times had been identified by the prosecution - and by the actors in the stages before the oral trial - as the protected witness No 843014. Pittí described "in a structured, chronological and on its own initiative", the events that occurred between 2011 and 2014 in building 150 of the CSN, such as the installation of  Pegasus and the follow-up of several objectives, according to him,on firect orders direct from Martinelli.

Pittí, told - among other things - that the team trained to operate Pegasus - acquired from the Israeli  NSO Group Technologies Ltd with funds from the former National Assistance Program (PAN) - was formed by him  and the agents Ronny Rodríguez (aka Didier) - also deputy director of the CSN - and William Pittí (aka Guillermo), both fugitives. Ismael Pittí told how they tapped the communications of leaders of the Suntracs, the PRD and the Panameñista, of the Association of Educators of Veraguenses ... "all of interest to the President of the Republic".

"From the information generated by the Pegasus system, a daily report was drawn up on the relevant facts that could shield or violate each target, and at the end of the day that documents were unified, printed and put in a yellow envelope, that Ronny Rodríguez delivered every morning to the President and he knows that, because many times Ronny told us that the envelope had to be delivered directly to the President; if the President was out of the country, Ronny did not carry any report; the work was done, accumulated until he returned, everything that had been collected in those days was printed and he took it personally, "said Ismael Pittí, according to an excerpt from his testimony collected in the ruling of the trial court.

He also said that, in May 2014, supposedly by order of Martinelli, they moved some equipment to the offices of Super 99 in Monte Oscuro.

The judges report that Pitti said that on July 28, 2014 he met with Commissioner Jacinto Cárdenas , first, and then President Juan Carlos Varela , later, to talk about an interception team that "they knew operated in building 150 of the National Security Council ".

"He first denied it, then acknowledged that he was an operator of the same and so they asked him to go before the corresponding authorities to report the incident," the ruling said. The judges wonder if Pittí was informed of "his constitutional right not to self-incriminate himself" and why Varela and Cárdenas did not present the complaint themselves. They also criticize that Pitti, in his first approach with the Assistant Prosecutor's Office, said he had information about the events that occurred in the CSN, and did not present himself as a witness to those facts.

After his complaint, Ismael Pittí was sent to be part of the permanent mission of Panama to the Organization of American States (OAS), based in Washington with a salary of $7,000.

All this - according to the court - makes him a "suspicious witness", which implies that his credibility has been affected, compromised, by virtue of strong grounds of bias and interest.

Regarding the digital evidence presented, the court considers that the Public Prosecutor's Office "had serious difficulties" in incorporating such evidence to trial, and notes that the expert witness Luis Rivera Calle , chief of Informatics of the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences (Imelcf), warned that the security seals on the compact discs were broken and that this worried him because some discs were "rewritable, that is, they could be added or removed information." Nor could he attest to the chain of custody.[, The ruling does not say that Rivera Calle subsequently recognized all the material contained in the records.]



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Seven move to overturn Martinelli acquittal


Complainants say they have the resources to overturn court decision

Posted 28/08/2019

Six complainants  and a public prosecutor have processes  underway to attempt to overturn the acquittal of former president Ricardo Martinelli charged with illegal interception of communications and theft of $13 million worth of surveillance equipment purchased with funds from the National Assistance Program (PAN).

The Public Prosecutor's Office and the intervening plaintiffs seek the formal annulment of the ruling..

 that declared him not guilty of the commission of political espionage and peculation crimes.

Both parties attended, at the offices of the First Judicial District of Panama on  Wednesday, August 28.

The six complainant victims have been divided into two groups of three. In one are Rosendo Rivera, Rubén Polanco, and Juan Carlos Navarro , who announced that they will present a letter of annulment "with concurrent grounds of appeal," against the acquittal in favor of Martinelli. Meanwhile, the senior prosecutor against Organized Crime, Ricaurte González , announced that he will also file an appeal for annulment. They have eight days to do it.

It will be up to the Court of Appeals to address these remedies.

In the other group of complainants are Balbina Herrera, Mitchell Doens and Mauro Zúñiga who will present the appeal before the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court.

"Most of the magistrates are prevented or contaminated for having known this process at some time," said Nicomedes Díaz, lawyer for Juan Carlos Navarro.

 Navarro commented on the judgment of the trial court, which declared Martinelli not guilty on August 9 and was formally read on Monday.

"It is incredible and absurd that such things happen in Panama. The only thing we ask is that justice be done and these incidents never be repeated, that the right to communication, the right to privacy and constitutional rights be respected. May the serious violations of Panamanian human rights never happen again, "said Navarro.

According to the judges of the court - Roberto Tejeira, Arlene Caballero and Raúl Vergara - the accusation failed to prove its  theory of the case , since a lot of reasonable doubts emerged - for example, in relation to the protected witness - that led to the acquitted of the accused .

Martinelli faced a sentence of up to 21 years in prison for the alleged commission of four crimes: inviolability of secrecy and the right to privacy, and two forms of peculation (use and embezzlement). However, the judges considered that, with respect to the first two crimes, the absence of judicial authorization to carry out the interceptions was not proven. In other words, there was no evidence that these espionages were illegal.

In the same vein, the prosecutor's office according to the judges - did not even prove that there were interceptions of the communications, nor did it  properly accredit the use of spy equipment, specifically the so-called Pegasus system .

The ruling indicated that there is no record that the messages intercepted to the victims (and that they recognized in different judicial proceedings and before the court) in fact come from Pegasus. Nor was the financial involvement of the State with respect to the loss of the Pegasus equipment substantiated through an audit, nor was an inventory of the assets stolen from  the National Security Council  (CSN) presented, which supports the accusation of the crimes of peculation.



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Journalism groups respond  to Martinelli  lawsuit  muzzling blitz


Posted 03/09/2019

A storm of civil and criminal actions launched against  journalists, cartoonists and media managers by billionaire ex-president Ricardo Martinelli, has led the  National Journalism Council (CNP)  and the  Forum of Journalists for Freedom of Expression and Information  to ask the  Judicial Branch and the Public Ministry to remain "on alert" to what they consider a "growing practice of abusing the system of justice, as a tool of censorship, intimidation and persecution against journalists and the media. "

Journalistic unions in a statement released on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 - refer specifically to the "dangerous attack" of former President Ricardo Martinelli, who to date has filed about twenty civil and criminal lawsuits against journalism targets.

 Corporación La Prensa alone has been the target filed eight legal actions: seven against La Prensa, for publications published in May 2019, and one against Mi Diario, for a cartoon by Hilde on April 17.

Martinelli's last lawsuit was against Sabrina Bacal, director of TVN News and president of the CNP, who was sued this week "for the simple fact of expressing her opinion."

"Given its charges and its functions, this attack against Bacal is interpreted as a rush against free journalism and as an attempt to generate self-censorship among those who practice it," says the statement.

It is not the first time that the CNP and the Forum refer to the threats and lawsuits filed by Martinelli, his family and legal team reports La Prensa.

On August 23, 2018, also, the unions already called on the Judicial Branch and the Public Ministry, after five journalists from La Prensa  were named in  a lawsuit filed by former first lady  Marta Linares Martinelli, in which he intends to "order the social media, written press, television, radio and social networks, and especially the newspaper  La Prensa , to cease and refrain from disseminating or publishing facts and situations of a private nature and family, and the name and surname in general of the family group, as part of a media campaign against the members of this Panamanian family. " 

Martinelli de Linares’s lawsuit is “for family protection and family image,” for publishing journalistic notes that mention her children’s link to the Odebrecht case, which is being investigated by the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office.

"These practices constitute a violation of both the Constitution of the Republic of Panama and the American Convention on Human Rights that states that:  every individual has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes that of not being disturbed because of their opinions, to investigate and receive information and opinions, and to disseminate them, without limitation of borders, by any means of expression,” the media unions’ statement  adds.



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Moderator comment: Poor proofreading on the part of this news organization. From content embedded within the HTML coding, I believe the title of this news article should read "Martinelli Launches 20 Revenge Lawsuits".




Billionaire threatened payback

Posted 05/09/2019

Lawsuits by former Panama resident Ricardo Martinelli, recently acquitted of massive wiretapping of opponents of all hues, are falling like black confetti in the justice system, while his team of lawyers continue to pad their wallets and court watchers await the results of appeals against the controversial decision by judges with ties to his administration.

His latest target is lawyer Rosendo Rivera, one of the victims of the illegal wiretapping, who faces a complaint for the alleged commission of the crime against honor.

The complaint was filed and admitted to the Primary Care Prosecutor's Office of Parque Lefevre.

To date billionaire  Martinelli, who has boasted that he has the power and the money and has long threatened “payback”  has filed some 20 lawsuits filed in civil and criminal jurisdictions against citizens, journalists, cartoonists, communicators, editors and executives of various media.



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Written appeals against Martinelli acquittal delivered


Posted 09/09/2019

The Public Prosecutor and the complainants in the  Ricardo Martinelli wiretapping trial supported in writing on Monday, September 9 their appeal for annulment of the court ruling that declared the former president not guilty of the crimes of peculation and political espionage. 

"We basically reproach the evidence, to those tests that the Court of Judgment did not assess, which was obvious, when they were overwhelming evidence," said Carlos Herrera, representative of one of the complainant parties. 

The lawyer said that it is the first of two resources that they will present. 

, Ricaurte González, senior prosecutor against Organized Crime, explained that the appeal must be delivered to the Superior Court of Appeals and that this instance, after evaluating the situation that has been raised, must refer the correspondence to the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court.

"What is important to note is that most likely there are some impediments on the subject of prior knowledge that some magistrates have and when this is  resolved and the appeal admitted, and a date set for the hearing," he said. 

Among the arguments that González highlights about why they present this appeal is the issue of the valuation that was given of supposed “transferred evidence” to the seven booklets that were part of the evidence presented in this process. "We also talked about the assessment given to the protected witness, which was not appropriate," Gonzalez said.

Martinelli faced a sentence of up to 21 years in prison for the alleged commission of four crimes: the inviolability of secrecy and the right to privacy, and two forms of peculation (use and embezzlement).  

On August 9, in their verdict, judges Roberto Tejeira, Raúl Vergara and Arlene Caballero, considered that regarding the first two crimes, the absence of judicial authorization to carry out the interceptions were not proven. In other words, there was no evidence that these espionages were illegal.

Martinelli went on a victory tour of malls and organized a celebration party accompanied by a mariachi band.



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Appeal against Martinelli ‘not guilty’ ruling


Balbina Herrera and lawyer

Posted 16/09/2019

One of the complainants in the wiretapping trial of former President Ricardo Martinell presented on Monday, September 16 support for his appeal against the judgment that declared Martinelli not guilty of peculation and telephone espionage.

The lawyer Carlos Herrera Delegado said he hopes that the court will reverse the verdict, arguing that there were serious injuries to the due process since the actions taken by the Supreme Court were discarded.

“We are asking that the sentence declaring  the former president not guilty l be revoked and that, as there are violations of due process and there are errors in the application of the law, the sentence is revoked and the sentence is decreed because the Court, through the Second Chamber, has the power to do so, ”said Herrera Delegado , lawyer for Balbina Herrera, one of a group of complainants.

Defense response
In the afternoon Martinelli and his team of lawyers went to the offices of the accusatory criminal system to present a notice of opposition due to the appeals filed, both by the prosecution and the complainants.

“Today we present the response by the defense to the opposition to the annulment resources that had been transferred to us. We have already been notified of an appeal filed by other complainant parties, so we will also give you the answer, ”said lawyer Alfredo Vallarino.

The lawyer said he expects to be "inadmissible for matters of form and substance."

"There is no due process here, there is political persecution," Martinelli said to the media.

Martinelli faced a sentence of up to 21 years in prison for the alleged commission of four crimes: the inviolability of secrecy and the right to privacy, and two forms of peculation (use and embezzlement).  

On August 9, in their verdict, judges Roberto Tejeira, Raúl Vergara and Arlene Caballero, considered that regarding the first two crimes, the absence of judicial authorization to carry out the interceptions were not proven. In other words, there was no evidence that the espionages were illegal.



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Judge named  to hear appeals against Martinelli “not guilty”  ruling


Wilfredo Sáenz

Posted 20/09/2019

Wilfredo Sáenz, substitute for Judge  Harry Díaz, will be the rapporteur of the two appeals presented by the Public Prosecutor and the complainant victims against the decision to declare former President Ricardo Martinelli “not guilty of political espionage and peculation".

The case was originally assigned to Díaz, in a distribution of files held on Friday, September 20.

As  Díaz served as a prosecutor when the case was the responsibility of the Supreme Court, he himself warned that it was appropriate that his substitute Wilfredo Sáenz who should serve as rapporteur.

"It is a well known fact that within this criminal process I exercised the functions of a prosecuting magistrate, therefore, it is appropriate that this folder be sent directly to my respective alternate, without the need of manifesting myself impeded, being a law mandator Diaz wrote.

 José Ayú Prado and Jerónimo Mejía.  cannot act as speakers either since Ayú Prado declared himself impeded and Mejía acted as judge of guarantees until the intermediate stage of the  Martinelli process.

There are two appeals against the ruling that on August 9 that declared Martinelli not guilty: one, presented by the prosecutor against Organized Crime, Ricaurte González, and the complainant victim, lawyer Rosendo Rivera, and another, that Carlos Herrera Morán lawyer of the doctor and victim  Mauro Zúñiga.interposed.



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Martinelli son's rights not violated


Fugitive son of ex-president Martinelli

Posted 09/10/2019

Panama’s   Supreme Court has ruled that no constitutional guarantees or due process were violated for  Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares - son of former President Ricardo Martinelli - as part of the investigation that is followed by the bribes paid by the Odebrecht construction company in Panama.

The magistrates of the Court reached the conclusion by rejecting in  August an Amparo of constitutional guarantees brought by the defense of Martinelli Linares.

Carlos Carrillo, a lawyer for the son of the former president, attacked a decision of the Twelfth Criminal Court, which agreed to incorporate the Ministry of Public Security as a complainant in the bribery process.of the case, since in the criminal conduct investigated there is no injury against state property.

First, Carrillo filed a constitutional guarantee protection before the First Superior Court of Justice, which rejected it. Then, he appealed to the full Court.

Martinelli Linares, who has not personally appeared before the process is investgated 80 other people for the bribes that the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht paid in Panama to get contracts with the State. The case is for alleged money laundering

Panamanian authorities are seeking  his extradition from the United States.


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Martinelli son's bingo corruption case heads to Supreme Court


Posted 25/10/2019

The election of Ricardo Alberto Rica Martinelli Linares - son of former President Ricardo Martinelli, to the Central American Parliament, famously described by the father as “a den of thieves”  provided a temporary escape hatch from his trial for alleged irregularities in the concession of Buko Millonario television bingo.

Now the The Second Superior Criminal Court decided to inhibit and refer to the Supreme Court of Justice the process Through a resolution dated September 25, 2019 and under the presentation of Judge Eda Cecilia Gutiérrez, an appeal filed by the lawyer Luis Eduardo Camacho González, against the decision of the Thirteenth Court Criminal to reject an appeal for annulment to close the process.

The magistrates concluded in the ruling that the d judicial process must be elevated to the plenary of the Supreme  Court since Martinelli Linares was protected by the prerogatives that protect the charges of deputies.

In July 2018, the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office requested the call to trial in this case of Martinelli Linares, as well as the former director of the National Charity  Lottery Omar Chen Chan, and the president of the World Investment Group (GIM), Jackeline Chan of Watson.

According to the investigations, the last two would have partnered with Martinelli Linares so that, through his political influence, they were granted the concession of televised bingo.



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Panama’s $78.3 million barrel of rotten apples


Ex president's son are facing extradition from the U.S

Posted 18/11/2019

A two-year investigation by the Sixth Anti-Corruption Prosecutor in the Blue Apple case  uncovered a corruption scheme that  included a barrel of rotten apples including private sector contractors, lawyers, bankers and former state ministers who used the banking system to launder money from bribes.

The investigation concludes that the property damage caused to the State would reach $ 78.3 million.

The prosecution which has recovered $33 million requested that 52 of the 58 persons charged be brought to trial.

The process was opened in September 2017, after a “basket” company allegedly, was detected allegedly created in order to receive bribes paid by state contractors in exchange for expediting payments for projects.

Among those charged are the brothers Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares , sons of the former president.

After the Odebrecht case, Blue Apple is perhaps the largest corruption investigation at the local level in recent years reports La Prensa.

Collaboration agreements reached by the defendants revealed the wide participation of officials, bank employees, and those close to the administration of former President  Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) to allegedly appropriate the money of the State.

One of the strongest statements was given by Juan Alexis Rodríguez, from Constructora Rodsa SA, who revealed that the former contract administrator of the Ministry of Public Works (MOP), Jorge Churro Ruiz, presented a verbal proposal to expedite procedures in the MOP: payment orders, plans, and others. In return, according to Rodríguez, he had to pay between 6% and 8% of the contract amount. Disbursements would be made in different payments between six and eight months. 

In his collaboration agreement, Juan Alexis Rodríguez provided copies of checks to the prosecution for the amount of $280 517, $640 973, and $1.9 million, dated February 2014 in favor of the Isthmus Energy Corporation, for contracts that Rodsa had won with the MOP.

The payments related to infrastructure works that were to be carried out in Veraguas and Coclé. He revealed that these payments were also required as "political assistance and to expedite the procedures of the projects".

He said  that the money was requested by the MOP minister of the time, Jaime Ford, who replaced Federico Suárez when he resigned from the post. He said Ford quoted him in his office and asked for payments. On another occasion he told him the amounts to be delivered.

Rodríguezalso  revealed the names of other protagonists of the plot: Joaquín Rodríguez Salcedo, former manager of Factor Global Inc , who, managed the invoices and payments. And Federico Barrios Alaín, legal representative, president, treasurer and signatory of several accounts of the Blue Apple company.

According to Ruiz, Barrios Alaín would deliver invoices that did not correspond to services related to his company, but would be used to justify amounts of money turned in favor of the company, which would charge 3.75% of the amount of payment received.

This scheme would have been repeated in the case of Carlos Cerda Araya, of Constructora Meco, who agreed to have authorized the delivery of money also at the request of Churro Ruiz, through financial operations and legal structures.

He said that he delivered 5% of the value of the contracts for the construction of multiple highways and bridges

He revealed that he paid $9.4 million from the mathematical formula of 5%.

On the other hand, Alberto Jurado Rosales, of the construction company Bagatrac S. A , Confirmed the same mechanism: he had to deliver part of the funds allocated to contracts through Blue Apple.

Others seeking to make a deal revealed details of dozens of similar corrupt transaction amounting to scores of millions of dollars

When the prosecution took an investigative statement from Joaquín Rodríguez Salcedo, of Global Factor, he said “having marketed a method of Federico Barrios”, through which with the sale of invoices, contractors “could download the expense, via tax shield, and send funds to various officials, not just Jorge Ruíz.

In an investigative statement, dated January 8, 2018, Barrios Alaín indicated that the Blue Apple structure began in 2011, when it was invited to participate in a business by Joaquín Rodríguez Salcedo, which consisted in the creation of a group of companies that would invoice state contractors for the alleged supply of materials, equipment rental, consulting and others. Rodriguez said he would have informed him that he should open a bank account in the name of one of those companies, but Blue Apple was chosen. There, then, they would receive all payments from contractors.

Former Ministers
Joaquín Rodríguez Salcedo linked the former Minister of Public Works Federico Suárez with the scheme, noting that when Churro Ruiz ceased to be director of MOP contracts, the then minister contacted him and informed him that the procedures that were being done with the contractors, should continue

He added that the latter came to request international transfers to Malena Investment; related to the former Minister of the Presidency Demetrio Papadimitriou . As well as Dejaf Investment, Solution for Business, Rock Capital, which was related to Suárez.

Jaime Ford, former Minister of Housing, and former Minister of Public Works, is linked to the process following a statement given by Julian Paris



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Ex-president Martinelli claims  $10 million from two judges


Posted 21/11/2019

Panama former president)  Ricardo Martinelli claims payment of - $5 million each from Supreme Court judges   Jerónimo Mejía and Harry Díaz, in a November 21 criminal complaint for alleged abuse of authority and violation of the duties of public servants.

Mejía and Díaz served as judge of guarantees and prosecutor in the process followed by Martinelli for alleged political espionage and embezzlement when the case was the responsibility of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ).

Later, on August 9, a court - formed by judges Roberto Tejeira, Arlene Caballero and Raúl Vergara declared him not guilty. The verdict   was appealed to the Supreme Court

In the complaint, Martinelli requests that specialists in psychology and psychiatry of the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences (Imelcf) produce  an expert report, "in order to record the sufferings caused by this situation and to keep documents in the file, the damages suffered on a personal, family, heritage and economic level. "

The former president and supermarket billionaire maintains that Mejía and Díaz's performance as a judge of guarantees and prosecutor, respectively, prevented the "really" knowing who were the perpetrators or those responsible for the "alleged" espionage and that they should be called to respond to Rolando López. , director of the National Security Council in the government of Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019)

Martinelli refers in his complaint to an opinion of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the Human Rights  Council of the United Nations , which said that  “the deprivation of freedom of  Ricardo Martinelli  is arbitrary, because it contravenes articles 9, 10, 11, 19 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and articles 9, 14, 19 and 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and falls under category III ” .

The decision is not binding, although it indicates alleged defects in the arrest of the former president pending his trial, which ended on August 9. The Working Group did not visit Panama, did not consult independent experts and limited itself to evaluating the information submitted by the interested party.

President Laurentino Cortizo announced that on November 25 he will announce who will replace Mejía and Díaz in the Supreme Court/



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Ex-president’s $10 million ploy to intimidate justice


Posted 22/11/2019

When a prosecutor or a judge knows about a case "it is because there are two parties in conflict and one of these will be very angry with the results."

This was expressed by former Attorney General  Ana Matildeo Noriega in  Gómez in reacting to the criminal complaint filed by former President Ricardo Martinelli against the magistrates of the Supreme Court Harry Diaz and Jerónimo Mejía writes Rodrigo Noriega in La Prensa.

In this  action, the former governor asks that Díaz and Mejía be investigated for the crimes of abuse of authority and violation of the duties of public servants, allegedly committed when the magistrates acted in the case of wiretaps  before the Court.

Martinelli demands $ 5 million to each defendant as compensation.

The complaint was filed four days after the extraordinary sessions of the National Assembly began, in which only the matters for which they were summoned by President Laurentino Cortizo can be heard: the ratification of three new chief magistrates and six alternates of the Court.

The Assembly will also have the opportunity to ratify the new Attorney General designated by Cortizo.

Mejía ran for a new term in the Court and has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Attorney General's Office.

According to the constitutionalist Carlos Bolívar Pedreschi, Martinelli's complaints seek another purpose and, in his opinion, no matter what happens, " former president Ricardo Martinelli has more to lose than win with this complaint ."

The legal responsibility that corresponds to Díaz and Mejía for the detention in the United States, the extradition to Panama and the preventive detention of the former president is void, since it was the result of a collective decision of the full Court.

A simple revision of article 490 of the Criminal Procedure Code reveals: “ Precautionary measures . In the investigation phase and in the trial phase, it will be up to the Plenary of the Supreme Court of Justice to authorize the application of any precautionary measure restricting the freedom of the Deputy ... ”.

This means that magistrates Harry Diaz and Jerónimo Mejía lack responsibility for the deprivation of liberty that the former president had. Neither Díaz nor Mejía voted in plenary sessions that decided the extradition or provisional detention of the ex-president.

The former Attorney  Generl Ana Matilde Gómez believes that the action against the magistrates seeks to intimidate justice. "Whenever there are measures of coercion, co-confession or revenge against justice operators, judicial autonomy is further inhibited and the rule of law is destroyed," she said.

On Friday in Spain, the National Court will advance the process that follows the construction company FCC for bribes allegedly paid to obtain contracts in Panama during the Martinelli government.

Whatever the motivation of the complaints, they will produce fear in the justice operators at a key stage of these criminal cases, and will affect the selection of magistrates of the Court and of the Attorney General.



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Lawyer facing Martinelli $5 million demand   won’t claim prostate cancer


Posted 25/11/2019

Former Panama president Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) continues his promised rampage against those he seem as having crossed his path in a trial for illegal wiretapping.

The latest to appear in his sights is  Carlos Herrera Morán one of the prosecuting lawyers wiretapping case,  who now faces a claim for the payment of $5 million.

Martinelli's lawyers filed the complaint with the Office of Primary Care of the Attorney General's Office for the alleged commission of slander and insult and alleging "psychological, commercial, business, social, family and political moral damage."

Roniel Ortiz, Shirley Catañeda, Jessica Canto, Iván Gantes and Rodrigo Mejía, from the legal team of the ex-plaintiff, allege that their client,s  banks have closed savings, checking, fixed-term and credit lines.

They provided statements offered by Herrera Morán to La Estrella de Panamá on August 18, 2019, in which he referred to the judgment of the Court in which Martinelli was declared “not guilty” of four crimes.

The former president was accused, among other things, of running a spy network that tapped d politicians, businessmen, activists and journalists between 2012 and 2014.

After that decision, which meant his release from prison, Martinelli legally his critics, including multi-million dollar claims against Supreme Court of judges, Jerónimo Mejía and Herry Díaz, who acted as judge of guarantees and prosecutor respectively in the initial stage of the puncture process.

Martinelli asks in his complaint to be evaluated by psychologists and psychiatrists to determine his alleged affectations.

Meanwhile, Herrera Morán recalled that the last word in the case of wiretapping has not been said since the process is again in the hands of the Supreme Court due to the presentation of an appeal.

"Their supposed effects on mental health are congenital and I have nothing to do with their nonsense," said Herrera Morán.

“I will defend myself with dignity and courage. I will not invent prostate cancer or take refuge in the den of thieves. ” (While in self in Miami, Martinelli claimed to have cancer but the symptoms   disappeared  when he returned to Panama

Upon hearing about the start of an investigation against him, in 2015 Martinelli left Panama for Guatemala, where he became a deputy of the Central American Parliament, a regional forum that he once accused of being a “den of thieves” ”' cave.

During the process against him, the ex-plaintiff complained on several occasions that he suffered a series of diseases with risk of death.



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Martinelli files new $5 million media complaint


Posted 06/12/2019

Radio Panama, owned by the Spanish conglomerate Grupo Prisa is the latest target of former Panama president Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) who has boasted that he has the money and the power to crush his detractors.

He has  filed a lawsuit for alleged slander and insult against the owners, executives, and journalists of  the broadcaster in which he demands compensation of at least $5 million

This is a "criminal complaint about a crime against honor to the detriment of former President Ricardo Martinelli," Alma Cortés, one of the lawyers who filed the complaint on Friday, Dec. 6, told TVN.

With the demand "a provisional compensation for $5 million is requested, which could increase," said the lawyer and former minister of the Martinelli Government.

Radio Panama reported that the criminal complaint was filed following reports on the case of the alleged payment of multi-millions in bribes by Spanish conglomerate FCC  in exchange for state contracts and that would involve the ex-president.

According to the complaint, the details of which the  Martinelli owned Panama America newspaper published, "alleged news" about the FCC case broadcast by Radio Panama "between November 22 and 26" last responds to "a strategy of continued attacks on honor, the  honor and image of Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, through false news  lacking legal, objective and impartial support. "

In the complaint, the lawyers also requested that Martinelli "have a psychological evaluation due to the effects received for damage to his image and honor," according to the newspaper's information.

On November 22, FCC made its first statement before the Spanish National Court, in which it explained details about the payment, through simulated invoices that the company denounced before the Spanish Prosecutor's Office, of $91 million in kickbacks for public contracts in Panama and for those being investigated for corruption and money laundering.

According to the Spanish information, at the end of May, FCC presented two briefs before the Prosecutor's Office in which it denounced the commercial agreements signed by its subsidiaries with a network of societies of the Spanish ‘Panamanian lawyer Mauricio Cort, an alleged frontman of Martinelli.

This strategy "covered up agreements to pay payments for alleged corruption, to ensure the award of important infrastructure contracts that were being tendered by the Governments of Panama, Salvador, Costa Rica and Nicaragua," cites the imputation order.

Martinelli has filed multiple million-dollar complaints against Panamanian media, informants and political analysts in recent years, which has led the InterAmerican Press Association (SIP) to denounce the "legal pressures" of the former president "to intimidate and silence public opinion



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Multi-million dollar intimidation of journalists condemned


Former president Ricardo Martinelli has been using the buckshot approach with multi-million dollar law suits

Posted 10/12/2019

The proliferation of multi-million dollar claims for millionaire amounts against journalists, the media and even opinion writers, which are related to the so-called "crimes against honor", may end up becoming ways of intimidating journalists or indirect routes to cause the closure of sections of the media.

"These new forms of intimidation require judges who know how to put the public interest before to protect Freedom of Expression, in an expedited way to avoid anxiety in the exercise of journalism and the numerous legal expenses," says a report by Forum of Journalists for Freedom of Expression.

The report also warns that in an "increasingly recurring" way, public servants and lawmakers have "voiced insults and expletives" against journalists and social media.

 "Public servants and, especially, those elected by the popular will are subject to public scrutiny and, in the exercise of their functions, are under the permanent magnifying glass of journalism, whose job is to expose the results of their investigations to public opinion and to publish  opinions on their performance The democratic system demands from its officials tolerance for criticism and unrestricted respect for freedom of expression and information enshrined in the Constitution and in international pacts, "says the Forum that does not disclose names

The leaks of alleged communications by former President Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019) that were released since November 5 on the Varelaleaks.com website also occupy a space in the Journalist Forum document.

It warns that in these leaks the relationship, sometimes tense, between the political power and the media is exposed, demonstrating the fundamental role of the free press in a democratic system. "Facts perfectly confrontable with the interactions given light with the leaks, demonstrate how political power was used to intimidate, manipulate or intimidate those who exercise journalism or simply their right to give their opinion.



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Fate of former Panama president rests with three women judges


Ricardo Martinelli

Posted 05/01/2020

The  future of former president Ricardo Martinell is in the hands of three women in Panama’s Supreme Court who will rule on the appeals against the decision of the court that on  August 9, 2018, declared him no guilty of wiretapping political opponent. Journalists, businessmen and lawyers.

The prosecution had called for a 22-year jail term.

The magistrates of the Second Criminal Chamber María Eugenia López Arias, Maribel Cornejo, and Asunción Alonso, substitute for Judge José Ayú Prado (recused in the case).

López Arias, who took office in December became president of the Chamber on January 2. She and Cornejo were appointed by the president of Laurentino Cortizo.

López Arias, Cornejo and Alonso must resolve an appeal for annulment with cassation filed by the specialized prosecutor against Organized Crime, Ricaurte González, and the complainant Rosendo Rivera.

In addition, the three must make in the appeal filed of the lawyer Carlos Herrera Morán, on behalf of the complainants Mauro Zúñiga, Mitchell Doens, and Balbina Herrara, against the verdict that declared Martinelli president not guilty.

Until December 31, 2019, the appeals were in the hands of Wilfredo Sáenz, who was the deputy of former magistrate HarryDiaz.  Cornejo replaced Diaz.

Cornejo, as a new rapporteur can (endorse the draft decision left by Sáenz (whose content is unknown says La Prensa), or write a new one.

If the appeals are finally admitted, an oral l hearing must be called, where the prosecutor and the complainants will present their case against the court ruling.



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Moderator comment: This seems to be a big deal in moving toward accountability at a higher level.


US k o'Maetinelli escape route


Ricardo Martinelli.

Posted 08/01/2020

Former Panama President Ricardo Martinelli could be prosecuted for as many as a dozen cases that are not related to the wiretapping trial for which he was extradited from the United States in June 2018.

The United States Department of State, says the former plaintiff would no longer be protected under the principle of specialty extradition matters.

In a note addressed to the Public Ministry (MP), Thomas Heinemann the Counselor of the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Department of State, indicated that, from now on, the principle of specialty contemplated in the extradition treaty signed by both countries in 1904 would not apply to the former president.

At the time, Panama’s  Supreme Court (CSJ) admitted at least 9 cases in which it was intended to investigate the ex-president reports TVN: Among them:

Impregilo extortion
Purchase of grains through the PAN
Isthmus Collections
Financial Pacific
353 illegal pardons
Embezzlement in Bahia Honda.

Last October, the Public Ministry (MP) requested control hearing before an investigating judge to authorize him to investigate the ex-leader for alleged embezzlement to the detriment of the Savings Bank and for alleged extortion of former mayor Bosco Vallarino.

In addition, there is the case called New Business , in which the purchase of the  Epasa Group  which publishes PanamaAmerica and Critica, allegedly with public funds  is investigated.



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