Former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, who aspires to return to power in next year’s elections, has been on trial since Tuesday for alleged money laundering in the purchase of a publishing house that publishes national newspapers.
Martinelli, who suffers from a heart condition and underwent spinal surgery last week, is recovering and was not present at the opening of the trial. Neither was his lawyer Luis Camacho, who presented a medical certificate.
At the opening of the trial, Martinelli’s substitute lawyer, Oliver Quiel, presented two appeals to suspend the hearing: one for the judge’s impediment to carry out the process and another requesting time to review the file. Judge Baloisa Marquínez rejected both appeals and continued holding the hearing. The trial is expected to take place over 10 days.
The former president and 19 other people, mostly businessmen, are being tried in the case called “New Business” opened by the Public Ministry in 2017. The Prosecutor’s Office maintains that illegal funds were transferred through a complex transfer scheme to a bank abroad to a partnership for the sum of 43 million dollars for the purchase of the publishing house.
from 5 to 12 years in prison
The crime for which Martinelli is being tried is punishable by between five and 12 years in prison. In addition to this process, Martinelli will also have to face another one for the bribes of the Brazilian consulting firm Odebrecht this year.
Martinelli, who will participate in the primaries of his party Realizing Goals in July in which the candidate for the presidency will be chosen, maintains that the processes he is facing are politically motivated and seek to truncate his aspiration to return to power.
Trial begins for former Panamanian President Martinelli