May 31, 2020

The Panamanian Prosecutor asks to prosecute Martinelli's wife and children for bribes

The Panamanian Prosecutor asked on Monday to prosecute 59 people for a plot of bribes known as "Blue Apple", among which are the wife and two children of former President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014).

"There was a embezzlement above the 78 million dollars … and the Prosecutor's Office was able to recover 35 million," prosecutor Aurelio Vásquez explained at a press conference.

The Prosecutor's Office did not reveal on Monday the names of the 59 people he asks to prosecute in this case and those he accuses of crimes such as money laundering, corruption of public servants, illegal association to commit crimes and forgery of documents.

Vasquez confined himself to responding to journalists that there is a "former first lady" among the people that the Prosecutor's Office has requested to be prosecuted for this case, whose investigations have been kept under summary secrecy.

Shortly after the "Blue Apple" scandal broke out, it turned out that three of the accused are Marta Linares – wife of former President Martinelli- and two children of the couple, Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique.

In September of last year Linares declared in the Prosecutor's Office for this plot that involves local and foreign companies, from which he resigned and denounced again that his family was the victim of a "persecution".

According to the Prosecutor's Office, between 2009 and 2014 a network of corruption operated in the Ministries of Public Works and Housing, where former senior officials allegedly demanded illegal commissions from several State contractors in exchange for expediting the administrative procedures of the works they were developing or in return of new contracts.

The Prosecutor's Office, which began investigations in September 2017, seized more than 10 million dollars in money and goods, and signed five collaboration agreements through which it recovered another 25 million, Vasquez said Monday.

"It was not an ordinary investigation, it was a complex investigation," the prosecutor acknowledged, after sending the file to court.

The Martinelli brothers, who reside in the United States and on whom an extradition request weighs in the case of bribes of the Brazilian multinational Odebrecht, were arrested in November last year for immigration problems and released some time later after paying a millionaire

Former President Martinelli, recently found not guilty of a case of political espionage and embezzlement of public funds, fled Panama in January 2015 when Justice opened the first of several pending cases and returned to the Central American country extradited from Miami (USA). .UU.), Where he spent a year imprisoned in a federal prison while battling his extradition.

The former governor, the first to face a criminal trial, denounces that both he and his family are victims of a political persecution orchestrated by his successor and former political ally, Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019).

. (tagsToTranslate) Fiscalia (t) Panamanian (t) prosecute (t) Martinelli (t) bribes

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