( Spanish) –– The two sons of former President Ricardo Martinelli, Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares and Ricardo Martinelli Linares, were sent back to Panama this Wednesday after serving their sentence for money laundering in the United States.
The Martinelli brothers were escorted from New York to the Tocumen International Airport, in Panama City, by officials of the United States Office of Detention and Deportation, and handed over to officials of the National Immigration Service, according to a statement from the Embassy of United States in Panama.
On May 20, 2022, a United States federal court sentenced the Martinelli Linares brothers to 36 months in prison for international bribery and money laundering, after pleading guilty to conspiring to commit the crime of money laundering and concealing millionaire bribes in benefit of his father, former President Ricardo Martinelli.
After the Martinelli brothers were handed over to the Panamanian authorities, it is up to the justice of that country to determine whether to prosecute the brothers, the statement clarifies.
The brothers were received by their father at the Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, according to Martinelli’s social media accounts.
The US prohibits the entry of former President Martinelli and his immediate family to the country
The United States announced that it is prohibiting the entry into the country of former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli and his immediate family, accusing him of accepting bribes, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Martinelli accepted bribes in exchange for improperly awarding government contracts during his tenure as president,” Blinken’s statement read. “Accepting bribes for government contracts undermines the integrity of Panama’s democratic institutions and fuels perceptions of corruption and impunity. Such acts of public corruption diminish trust in governance and reduce the resources available for schools, hospitals, roads and other government services,” the statement continued.
“These designations reaffirm the United States’ commitment to combating corruption, which harms the public interest, hinders the economic prosperity of countries, and reduces the ability of governments to respond effectively to the needs of their people. The United States continues to support to all Panamanians in support of democracy and the rule of law, and will continue to promote accountability for those who abuse public power for personal gain, regardless of their position or political affiliation,” Blinken’s statement concluded.
A en Español reporter asked Martinelli’s spokesman, Luis Eduardo Camacho, for a comment on the ban, and he replied that Martinelli “is with his family now and I won’t interrupt him.”