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News > Panama

Panama: Martinelli Sentenced to 128 Months in Prison

  • Panama's former President Ricardo Martinelli (2009–2014). Jul. 18,, 2023.

    Panama's former President Ricardo Martinelli (2009–2014). Jul. 18,, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/@MegafonoHondur1

Published 18 July 2023

In addition to Martinelli, four other people were sentenced for the same money laundering offense.

Panama's former President Ricardo Martinelli (2009–2014) was sentenced Tuesday to 128 months in prison for the crime of money laundering in the case known as "New Business."

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The Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) released the decision in charge of magistrate Baloísa Marquínez, in the case of the purchase of the newspapers "El Panamá América", "Crítica" and "Día a Día" from Editora Panamá América S.A. (EPASA). 

Martinelli was also fined US$19,221,600.48 after being found guilty based on Article 254 of the Penal Code. The resolution comes at a time when the former president, leader of the Realizando Metas (RM) party, is seeking a new presidential term in the 2024 elections.

The sentence orders the dissolution of two companies and the seizure of the shares of the publishing house in favor of the state, as well as the administration of the movable and immovable assets of said publishing house.

The tweet reads, "The Second Criminal Court of the First Judicial Circuit of Panama issues a sentence in the "New Business" case." 

In the framework of this case, four other people were also convicted, in addition to Martinelli, for the same crime of money laundering. Meanwhile, 10 other persons were acquitted, and the precautionary measures against them were lifted provided that they are not related to the legal situations of other defendants, who are awaiting the resolution of their situation.

In the hearing, it was considered that there was a deviation of public funds for the purchase of the publishing house through national and international transactions after the collection of 43.9 million dollars in a bank account belonging to the company New Business Services Limited.

The former president is also accused of money laundering in a case related to the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, for which he will appear in court next August.

The "New Business" case began in 2017, when the Public Prosecutor's Office became aware of the possible crime against the economic order in the modality of asset laundering, related to the purchase of media outlets.

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