Luis Enrique Martinelli, the son of former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, was extradited to the United States on Monday from Guatemala, where he was arrested last year along with his brother Ricardo Alberto, who has also been extradited to the United States. of the corruption case at the heart of which is the Brazilian construction group Odebrecht.
The plane on which Luis Enrique Martinelli boarded took off early yesterday afternoon from a military airport in the Guatemalan capital bound for New York City, French Agency journalists found out.
Wearing a black coat, jeans and a surgical mask, the son of the former president of Panama was released yesterday Monday morning from the military prison of the city of Guatemala where he was detained.
An arrest warrant was issued for him and he was handed over to US police, who boarded a private flight, Interior Ministry spokesman Pablo Castillo said.
The extradition of Luis Enrique Martinelli was approved by the Guatemalan court in May.
That of Ricardo Alberto’s brother received the green light from the court last week and is expected to take place in a few days, according to the authorities of the Central American country.
The two brothers were arrested on July 6, 2020, at Guatemala airport as they tried to return to Panama on a private jet on a humanitarian flight.
They were wanted by US justice, who accused them of being involved in the corruption ring of Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, which had distributed “more than $ 700 million” in bribes to Panamanian government officials in exchange for ransoms. More specifically, they are said to be involved in the transfer of $ 28 million to secret bank accounts, to the names of ghost companies.
Their father, former President Martinelli, is also facing charges over the Odebrecht scandal. Nevertheless, the former head of state, who maintains a certain popularity, has announced his intention to run for re-election to the highest office of his country in the 2024 presidential elections.
Panama is also seeking the extradition of the Martinelli brothers as part of an investigation into another corruption case.
The Odebrecht scandal has swept leaders and political parties in several Latin American countries. Former executives of the giant Brazilian construction company have admitted in court that they illegally distributed millions of dollars in bribes to secure government contracts for the execution of public works.