United States blacklists ex-President of Panama Ricardo Martinelli for corruption
The United States Government issued a statement on Wednesday (01.25.2023), that ex-President of Panama Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) had been put on the blacklist for his involvement in “large scale corruption.”
US Secretary of State, Antony Bliken, in a statement, said that Martinelli had accepted bribes in exchange for improper contracts during his tenure, making him “ineligible to enter the United States.” The action, he noted “undermines the integrity of Panama’s democratic institutions.”
Martinelli and his two sons had been witnesses in the prosecution of bribery case of Brazilian company Odebrecht in November 2022 in Panama. Martinelli’s sons, Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique had already served their jail sentence in the United States.
The Odebrecht case, which began in 2015, was giant corruption scandal in Panama history. In 2017, the company accepted that it paid millions of dollars in bribery. As a result, Odebrecht signed an agreement with the Panamanian Prosecutor’s Office for a fine of 220 million dollars for 12 years.
But that isn’t the only accusation Martinelli faces. He is also under investigation in Spain for a bribery case by Spanish construction company FCC and for alleged espionage on a woman in Mallorca. Martinelli is expected to go through further trials in Panama.