US Extradites Panama Ex-President Ricardo Martinelli

Blanche Robertson
June 13, 2018

"Because of Panama's partnership with the United States, Martinelli has been returned to Panama".

The former president of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, will be extradited Monday from the United States, where he has been held for a case of illegal wiretapping, one of his attorneys said Sunday.

Marta de Martinelli, wife of former Panama president Ricardo Martinelli, speaks to the media while waiting for his extradition from USA outside the Panama Pacifico global airport in Panama City, Panama June 11, 2018.

Panama's President Ricardo Martinelli addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in NY, U.S. on September 25, 2013.

Martinelli Berrocal was indicted in Panama for embezzling more than $10 million in public funds and using an extensive surveillance system to illegally monitor about 150 people's communications.

I am ready to see the World Cup (for which Panama qualified for the first time in history), he said making a gesture with his thumb up, the information added.

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He is under investigation in Panama in about 20 other cases of corruption, but those are not referred to in the extradition request.

The extradition honored a 1905 treaty [text, PDF].

The International Police issued Red Alert in April 2017 for the capture of Martinelli, who communicated with Panama through social networks and videos, in which he insisted on his innocence and being a victim of political persecution.

Martinelli appeared handcuffed in photos shared by Panama's security ministry and was transported to Renacer prison, where former strongman Manuel Noriega, who died a year ago, had been held.

General Noriega died in May a year ago, aged 83, after serving time in prison in the United States and Panama for drug-trafficking, money laundering and racketeering.

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