Panama's ex-President Martinelli sentenced to over 10 years in prison | Inquirer News

Panama’s ex-President Martinelli sentenced to over 10 years in prison

/ 08:16 AM July 19, 2023

Panama's former president Martinelli stands outside the Central American Parliament in Guatemala City

FILE PHOTO: Panama’s former president Ricardo Martinelli (C) stands outside the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) in Guatemala City January 29, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

PANAMA CITY — A Panamanian court sentenced former President Ricardo Martinelli to more than 10 years in prison for money laundering, the attorney general’s office said on Tuesday, threatening the front-runner’s bid to for a new term next year.

The case, known as “New Business,” was opened in 2017 when authorities became aware of possible financial crimes linked to the purchase of a news outlet, the statement said.


The former president’s defense will appeal the sentence and exhaust all the legal options available, Martinelli’s lawyer Carlos Carrillo said in a news conference.


“Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal’s candidacy is solid,” Carrillo said, noting he is still eligible to run for the presidency since there is time to challenge the sentence.

A survey published in May by polling firm Campaigns & Elections Mexico put Martinelli as the front-runner, followed by former President Martin Torrijos.

The court imposed a $19.2 million fine on Martinelli, judicial authorities said in a statement.

Martinelli became the first official candidate for Panama’s 2024 presidential election last month after he was elected by the party Realizando Metas, a group he founded two years ago.

The former president’s spokesperson Luis Camacho said his team will analyze what he called a legal attack on Martinelli.

The United States barred Martinelli from entering the country in January, accusing him of accepting bribes in return for improperly awarding government contracts during his 2009-2014 administration.


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TAGS: Panama, President, Prison, world news

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