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News > Guatemala

Guatemala to Extradite Son of Panama's Ex-President to the US

  • Luis Enrique Martinelli heads to a Court, Guatemala, March. 5, 2021.

    Luis Enrique Martinelli heads to a Court, Guatemala, March. 5, 2021. | Photo: EFE

Published 26 May 2021

Between 2009 and 2014, Luis Martinelli and his brother were allegedly involved in money laundering.

The Guatemalan Public Prosecutor's Office confirmed the extradition of Luis Enrique Martinelli to the United States, where the son of Panama's former President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) will face money laundering charges.


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Since July 2020, he and his brother have been held captive in Guatemala following a request by the U.S. justice system due to their alleged implication in the Odebrecht bribes case in Panama. 

The Martinelli brothers are presumed to have managed secret bank accounts of shell companies in foreign jurisdictions during their father's mandate.

To sustain the extradition request, a New York district court handed over documents containing evidence, witness statements, and bank records against the Martinellis.

On July 6, 2020, they were arrested at Guatemala City's international airport as they attempted to board a private humanitarian flight to Panama.

Days after the arrest, the Central American Parliament ruled out declaring them as Panamanian alternate lawmakers after suspicions that they intended to invoke parliamentary immunity to avoid extradition.

Their father was extradited from the U.S. in 2018 to face charges for an illegal wiretapping case. After his release, he has registered a new political party and expressed his intention to run again for the presidential post in 2024.

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