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What's Next for Richardo Martinelli, His Family and Associates Regarding Wire Tapping and Other Charges

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AG and criminal prosecutors analyze Martinelli cases


Eduardo Ulloa

Posted 10/01/2020

Panama’s Attorney General, Eduardo Ulloa, has called in the country’s senior criminal prosecutors, to review and "analyze" the situation of nearly a dozen cases linked to former president Ricardo Martinelli and the application of the principle of specialty contemplated in the Panama-States extradition treaty United of 1904.

In December  the US State Department sent a note to the Public Prosecutor's Office, on December 12, 2019, in which it states that Martinelli is no longer subject to the principle of specialty in extradition matters.

That means that Martinelli could be investigated, prosecuted and tried in Panama in those cases that are not linked to the wire case for which he was extradited by the United States in June 2018.

On Friday, January 10, in a press release from the Office of Attorney General on the meeting of prosecutors with Ulloa, said that “a review and analysis of the content of various documents was made, including the letter sent by the Sub-Adviser Intelligence and Law Enforcement Law of the US Department of State on December 12, 2019 to the ex-Attorney General, - Kenia Porcell -, in the context of an informal communication, in relation to the situation of the extradited person ”.

In the meeting, reference was also made to the “exchange of notes that was held on April 4, 2019 between the Panamanian Foreign Ministry and the United States Department of State, which is related to the validity and application of the aforementioned principle, and the law 75 of June 14, 1904, which approves an Extradition Convention between the United States of America and Panama. ”

Thomas Heinemann, the State Department official who signed the note received at the Public Prosecutor's Office last December 12, said that the specialty principle contemplated in the extradition treaty would not apply from now on, given that Martinelli has been allowed to travel outside of Panama since September 15.

Regarding the exchange of letters of April 2019, Heinemann and the then director of legal affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Gina López Candanedo, agreed that the mechanism by which both countries expressed their consent for exceptions to the specialty principle would be via from the Public Ministry of Panama to the United States Department of State, and vice versa.

In the meeting with Ulloa, were anti-corruption prosecutors against Organized Crime and International participated, Affairs, among others.

In the meantime, Martinelli’s team of lawyers reacted to the US note by calling a press conference to denounce Kenia Porcell and launch a $10 million lawsuit against her



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US says ex-president Martinelli can face cirruption trials


Posted 14/01/2020

Panama’s  Attorney General, Eduardo Ulloa, has informed the superior prosecutors of a note from the counselor of US the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Department of State that they can move on multiple corruption cases involving former president Ricardo Martinelli and that the decision to proceed with the case or request authorization from a judge of guarantees will depend on the criteria of each prosecutor and the elements in the file.

The United States Department of State, through its embassy in the country, has confirmed that Panama "is free to bring Mr. [Ricardo] Martinelli to trial without obtaining an exemption from the U The pronouncement arises after Thomas Heinemann, advisor to the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Department of State, in a note addressed to the Public Ministry [December 12, 2019], affirmed that the principle of specialty contemplated in the extradition treaty signed by both countries in 1904 would not apply from now on, given that the former president has been allowed to travel outside of Panama since September 15 reports La Pensa.

Martinelli was found not guilty of wiretapping 150 political opponents, journalists, lawyers and businessmen on August 9, 2019, by a Trial Court. He was extradited from the United States in June 2018 to face the charges. The court’s decision is under appeal. Prosecutors had asked for a 22-year jail term.

He potentially faces prosecution in multiple cases of alleged  corruption, money laundering, stock manipulation and embezzlement.



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Justice ready to knock on Martinelli’s doorM


Posted 17/01/2020

The US  Embassy in Panama has sent Ministry of Foreign Affairs   - a copy of the note from the US Department of State, which states that former President Ricardo Martinelli is no longer subject to the principle of specialization in matters of extradition.

That means that Martinelli can be investigated, prosecuted and tried in Panama in those cases that are not linked to the cause for which he was extradited by the United States in June 2018: that of the punctures.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs that it received today [Friday, January 17, 2020] a note from the Embassy of the United States of America, through which it sends us a copy of the letter that was sent by the Mr. Thomas Heinemann, advisor of the Office of Foreign Affairs of the US Department of State, to the Attorney General's Office, in which he communicated the official position of his government around the principle of specialty in the case of former president Ricardo Martinelli ” , notes the press release.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the Directorate of Legal Affairs and Treaties, will communicate "formally" to the Attorney General's Office about the receipt of the note signed by Heinemann.

The State Department's note - originally sent to the Office of the Attorney General on December 12, 2019 - states that Panama “is free to bring Mr. Ricardo Martinelli to trial without obtaining an exemption from the Principle of Specialty from the United States” .

It adds that the principle of specialty contemplated in the extradition treaty signed by both countries in 1904 would not apply from now on, since the former president has been allowed to travel outside Panama since September 15.

Martinelli was found not guilty of illegal wiretapping on August 9, 2019, by a Trial Court.  for which he was extradited from the United States in June 2018.

On  Friday, the  Attorney General  G, Eduardo Ulloa, reported that he had already delivered a note of Heinemann's letter to the anti-corruption prosecutors.

"They will have to determine, according to the state in which each case is, the legal option that they will proceed," Ulloa said.

“In addition to delivering the note, we exposed [to the prosecutors] a series of details and emphasized that, regardless of the assessment they made, what cannot happen is that the processes stop.

“ We have to keep moving forward, keep guaranteeing citizens that there is really expedited justice. They will determine at the moment if there are merits or not to include Mr. Martinelli in the investigation, but if they do not have it, they have to continue advancing the processes and take them to the moment when they can already act or they can submit that note to the jurisdictional control ”, the AG added.

There are at half a dozen high profile corruption investigations linked to Martinelli and his former inner circle that are sitting in. limbo



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Fugitive sons of Ricardo Martinelli denied bail bolthole


Fugitive Martinrlli offspring

Posted 20/01/2020

The two fugitive sons of former Panama president Ricardo Martinelli have lost their latest bid to stall their call to justice.

Twelfth Criminal Court has denied a bail request not to be detained filed by the defense of the brothers Luis Enrique and Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares, under investigation for the alleged laundering of multi-millions of dollars of bribes paid by the Odebrecht company to obtain contracts for the construction of public infrastructure.

In a January 10, ruling, Judge Oscar Carrasquilla denied the benefit to both id because they "have not made their discharges", which "can be considered a refusal to help clarify the facts."

The judge also argues that the procedural situation of both is that they are of "unknown whereabouts", since there is only information "that they are outside the national territory, that  and can be considered an evasion."

Judge Carrasquilla arrives at this conclusion taking into account the aspects that link them to the investigation, “the supposed fact that companies under their ownership may have received money transfers from a company linked to the Structured Operations Department of Odebrecht”.

In addition, the judge indicated that the investigation of this case could not be considered as completed since it was awaiting the resolution of constitutional guarantee protection presented by the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor.

The Amparo referred to by the judge was resolved on January 6 by the First Superior Court which granted the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office up to 5 months and 8 more days to investigate.

The Public Prosecutor initiated the investigation on December 22, 2016, after the Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office fingered the Martinelli Linares brothers for allegedly receiving sums of money from Odebrecht through the companies Kadair Investment Ltd, Fordel International Ltd, and Aragon Finance Corp BVI.

 The Office of the Public Prosecutor, when conducting an inspection of an account of Constructora Internacional del Sur, discovered that the Department of Structured Operations of Odebretcht had made a transfer of $3 million to Kadair Investment.



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Martinelli wiretap lawyer accused of witness intimidation


Alfredo Vallarino

Posted 21/01/2020

A  key  witness in the wiretapping  case  of Ricardo Martinelli  has filed a criminal complaint against Alfredo Vallarino Alemán, one of the former defense lawyers of Ricardo Martinelli

In the complaint, filed by  Ismael Pittí, on Tuesday, January 21 Vallarino is accused of intimidation of a witness, after Martinelli's lawyer filed a complaint against Pitti, for alleged false testimony.

In the action filed by Pittí, he considers that Vallarino's complaint against him is intended to threaten and intimidate him, given the role he had in the trial of  Martinelli last year. In which the court declared the former president "not guilty" but the case is still under appeal.

According to Pitti, Vallarino tries to  "annihilate his will to give truthful testimony about what he knows and induce him to false testimony” in the event that his intervention is required again in the process against Martinelli.

For his part, Vallarino denounced Pittí because, according to him,  the different statements given by  Pitti when  “checked”, there were  “many falsehoods” against his client. He also claims that Pittí is investigated for alleged embezzlement since in 2014 he was a “corporal” with a salary of $700 per month at the National Security Council (CSN), but after his statement, he was sent to Washington, United States, to a diplomatic, a position with as alary - according to Vallarino - of $7,000 a month.

Ismael Pittí, who is still residing in the United States,  says La Prensa is the person who in 2014 informed the Assistant Prosecutor that “illegal interventions and interpretations” were carried out at the CSN, using a device acquired with funds from the National Assistance Program (PAN), from an Israeli company. Among the "objectives" of the CSN, the witness listed up to 150 politicians, trade unionists, journalists,  leaders of organized civil society and businessmen opposed to Martinelli. The interceptions - according to the protected witness - were carried out clandestinely.

These facts were confirmed by Pitti in the oral trial held last year, against Martinelli. Initially, Pitti had the status of a protected witness, but on the podium, he renounced his anonymity.

The witness also reported that he was recruited by Ronny Rodríguez and William Pitty, both agents of the CSN and currently of unknown whereabouts, to carry out the espionage between 2012 and 2014, commissioned by then-President Martinelli.

Pittí told the judges that Ronny Rodríguez - who was deputy director of the CSN – went daily to the Presidency, to deliver reports - inside a manila paper envelope - of the activities entrusted by Martinelli. The diligence was carried out every day, except when the president was out of the country.

For the same activities, Alejandro Garúz and Gustavo Pérez, former directors of the CSN in the Martinelli government, were sentenced to 50 months in prison, each in January 2019. The sentences were appealed.



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Judges reject 3 Martinelli slander complaints


Frustrated Martinelli

Posted 07/02/2020

Former president Ricardo Martinelli who has fattened the wallets of his team of lawyers with a shower of multi-million-dollar lawsuits against individuals since his acquittal in the illegal spying on opponents case (currently under appeal).  got a triple whammy from judges of guarantees on Friday, February 7.

 The complaint of slander and insult, filed against the lawyer and radio commentator, Mariela Ledezma was archived and a  judge ruled that there was no crime in a complaint against Annette Planells of Movin. A complaint against Roberto Eisenmann, founder of La Prensa, met a similar fate.

Planells recalled that these cases are related to comments made by both commentators in interviews and social networks.

While in office Martinelli gained notoriety for his Trump-style personal attacks on individual journalists.



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Ex-president uses money and courts to strike back


Posted 19/02/2020

The third civil circuit judge, Ana Zita Rowe, admitted a request for the seizure of Martinelli filed against Panama’s ex-attorney general  Kenia Porcell, for up to $ 120,000.

The amount would be in the concept of capital, costs, and expenses for the lawsuit filed by Martinelli.

Billionaire Martinelli  who has lived up to repeated promises has been scattering lawsuits  like black confetti since the end of his trial for illegal wiretapping must record - as established by the Judicial Code - $30,000 as a guarantee "in order to respond for possible damages that may be caused by the implementation of the measure."

"I will continue working to clear my name, and those responsible must face justice," Martinelli wrote on his Twitter account.

In January  Martinelli (2009-2014) presented three criminal complaints: one against his successor Juan Carlos Varela and two against former prosecutor Kenia  Porcell. The complaints were filed by Alejandro Pérez, Martinelli's lawyer,

The complaint against Varela is for the alleged commission of crimes against the public administration, as is one of the complaints against Porcell. The other action against the ex-AG is for the alleged commission of the crimes of slander.

Porcell, as head of the Public Ministry between 2014 and 2019, led several investigations of alleged corruption during Martinelli's administration.



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OPINION:  Intimidation of Panamanian  democracy


Ricardo Martinelli and his lawyers move against former prosecutor

Posted 20/02/2020

There is a strategy to intimidate judges, prosecutors, and any official who dares to act on the criminal causes of a local political connotation. A civil court granted him the kidnapping of assets of a high-ranking former official who worked in the Attorney General's Office. These decisions can be made prejudicially, that is, without there being a conviction against the former official.  If he wanted to denounce, there is the path of a Public Ministry that has a new boss, there is also the Ethics Court of the National Bar Association and the Fourth Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice. But since that is not the true intention of the civil kidnapping carried out, it is clear that the objective is another: Who is going to dare now to move a finger on all the pending cases of this politician? What prosecutor, Judge or magistrate of the Court will not think twice before acting against him? If this case thrives, Panama will be a hostage of the highest bidder. A country without justice leaves the door open to tyranny and corruption. In other words, it is the end of democracy and the freedoms of all Panamanians. Only the powerful who have hands full of money l can decide how to investigate when to judge and who is convicted.- LA PRENSA. Feb. 20



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Corruption probe moves closer to Martinelli fugitive sons


The Martinelli sons after an arrest in Miami

Posted 21/02/2020

Maya Cikuler Spiller, a 46-year-old accountant, was arrested in Uruguay on Thursday, Feb. 20  on an Interpol warrant initiated while trying to move to Buenos Aires, Argentina. She was brought before authorities and a judge decreed house arrest while Panama processed her extradition for investigations linked to Odebrecht and the sons of ex-president Martinelli (2009-2014).  The  process  must be done in 60 days

 The role of Cikurel Spiller, who, according to Uruguayan and Argentine media, is the partner of Uruguay’s designated Minister of Education and Culture, is linked to the Odebrecht Switzerland case, which directly involves Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares, sons of the former president.

Cikurel Spiller, along with American Barry William Hernan, and Brazilians Hilberto Mascarenhas Alves da Silva and Luiz Eduardo Soares was charged by Swiss prosecutors with bribes, forgery of documents and money laundering

In Panama, she faces charges of money laundering. In June 2019, La Prensa published her name among the nine people pending before the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor in the case.

It is linked to the company Arcadex Corp., through which the construction company would have paid bribes to the children of former President Martinelli. Arcadex Corp. was created in Uruguay but is based in Belize.

However, according to sources from the Public Ministry, says La Prensa,  the Uruguayan must also be held accountable by four other companies that allegedly received money from the Odebrecht Box 2 to bribe officials and individuals in exchange for multi-million public works contacts.

Swiss authorities have seized over $22 million from accounts linked to the sons, and Panama seized a helicopter. Both fugitives ere last reported in the US where they await extradition processes with multi-million bonds



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Martinelli fugitive sons get $2 million apiece bail deal


Posted 12/03/2020

The Second Superior Court of Justice granted bonds for not being detained, of two million dollars each, to brothers Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares , as part of the investigation of the bribes that Odebrecht paid by Odebrecht in the country.

The decision of the Second Court, signed by María de Lourdes Estrada Villar and José Hoo Justiniani, repeals a ruling on January 10 of the twelfth criminal judge, Oscar Carrasquilla, who had denied the request for bail to the fugitives.

The brothers, charged with the alleged commission of the crime of money laundering, were imposed the precautionary measure to prevent them from leaving the country.

The sons of former president  Ricardo Martinelli face two requests for extradition and red alert from Interpol, within two judicial processes followed by the Public Prosecutor's Office: that of Odebrecht-Switzerland and that of Blue Apple, both regarding the payment of bribes to officials and relatives to the Martinelli government (2009-2014).

On December 4, 2018, the Martinelli brothers were benefited by a US judge with a bail of $ 1 million, after being arrested in November of that year for an immigration case.



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