March 1, 2021

Outstanding Panamanian businessman testifies in the trial of Martinelli by eavesdropping



Panamanian businessman Stanley Motta, president of the Copa airline and one of the richest men in Central America, testified as a witness this Thursday in the trial for alleged political espionage and embezzlement against former president Ricardo Martinneli (2009-2014), under house arrest.

"I feel that I have fulfilled my duty to be a witness in this process," the magnate said in brief statements to reporters as he left the courthouse.

During his testimony, Motta was questioned by the Prosecutor's Office and the defense of the former governor and acknowledged two emails he exchanged with company executives and allegedly were intervened by the spy network established by Martinelli, according to local media present at the trial.

In addition to the Copa airline, the Panamanian entrepreneur is president of the Inversiones Bahía conglomerate, which includes business in financial services, real estate, media, technology, transportation, ports, energy and distribution and retail.

Motta is one of the more than one hundred witnesses who will march through the courts during the trial, which began last March, and among which could be former President Juan Carlos Varela, who left office on July 1 and whom Martinelli accuses of pursue it politically and have invented the cause of listening for "revenge".

Martinelli, for whom the Prosecutor's Office is asking for 21 years in prison and has another dozen pending cases of corruption, is accused of spying on dozens of opponents during his term with an expensive team acquired with public money.

The ex-governor fled Panama alleging political persecution in January 2015, when the Justice opened the first trial, and was handed over to Panama on June 11, 2018 by the United States, where he spent another year in prison while battling extradition. .

Martinelli, a 67-year-old billionaire businessman and suffering from several chronic ailments, spent a year in a minimum security prison on the banks of the Panama Canal, but in mid June a court ordered his move to house arrest.

The hearing case was opened by the Supreme Court in June 2015 because Martinelli was then a deputy of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen) and, due to its jurisdiction, the highest court was the only one that could investigate it.

But the ex-governor resigned from Parlacen as soon as he was extradited to Panama and his defense got in December 2018 that the case be transferred to an ordinary court, which lengthened the process.

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