March 31, 2024
Second son of Panama’s former President pleads “guilty” for corruption

Ricardo Martinelli, the second son of Panama’s former president, pled guilty to laundering $28 million in connection with a massive bribery conspiracy involving the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht SA.

After being extradited to the United States from Guatemala on Friday, Ricardo Alberto Martinelli, 42, filed his plea in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, on Tuesday.

Luis Enrique Martinelli, his younger brother, had previously taken the same route: he was extradited from Guatemala in November and pled guilty on December 2 to the identical count of money laundering conspiracy.

More than $700 million in bribes were paid to government officials, public servants, political parties, and others in Panama and other countries as part of Odebrecht’s scam. In 2016, the firm admitted to conspiring to violate the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act’s anti-bribery provisions.

According to US authorities, from 2009 to 2014, the Martinelli brothers laundered money from bribes paid to a close relative, who was only identified as a high-ranking government official in Panama.

Ricardo Martinelli, the former President of Panama, ruled from 2009 to 2014. In November, he was cleared of charges that he tapped the phones of opponents and journalists in Panama. He has stated that he intends to run for president again in 2024.

Ricardo Alberto Martinelli, dressed in a light green prison uniform,…

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