Panamanian former presidents banned from travel

(Prensa Latina) Justice banned that two former presidents of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) and Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019), leave the country while under investigation for money laundering in separate corruption cases.

The summons of the two former presidents coincided in time and place, which captured the interest of national public opinion without abandoning the interest to the coronavirus pandemic, which on Thursday reached 22 deaths in one day.

The Prosecutor’s Office against Organized Crime adopted the precautionary measure to Martinelli for the ‘New Business’ case and the defendant refused to answer the Public Ministry’s questions, by availing to the article of the Constitution, but on the way out the building, he was furious in front of the journalists.

In an opposite attitude, after nine hours of interrogation, Varela calmly addressed the media that stood guard at the door where the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office is also located and that is in charge of his case, related to alleged illegal money received from the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht.

Martinelli and Varela are accused of crimes ‘against the economic order,’ known as money laundering.

In the case of Varela, he must clarify the fate of US$10 million delivered by the Odebrecht company through former diplomat Jaime Lasso, who supposedly was the link.

Instead, Martinelli responds for the ‘New Business’ case. This is a plot of public money movement embezzled through several bank accounts in and outside of Panama, which allegedly served the former president for the purchase of Editora Panama America, S.A (EPASA), a property he still owns.

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