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Also see https://chiriqui.life/topic/7880-“blue-apple”-corruption-scandal for more postings involving the Martinelli family, especially the two Martinelli sons.

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Two plaintiffs withdraw from Martinelli trial


Posted 19/07/2021

Two of the six plaintiffs in the illegal wiretapping case against former president Ricardo Martinelli,  have reached an out-of-court settlement with the defense.

They are Juan Carlos Navarro, former mayor of Panama, and Mauro Zúñiga, former leader of the doctors' union. Sources from the Judicial Branch confirmed that Navarro submitted a letter to the Judicial Office to inform them that he is withdrawing the accusation and states that he has no intention of continuing with the process.

Meanwhile, Zúñiga presents a notarized document, through the lawyer Carlos Ameglio Moncada, in which he indicates that, in effect, he desists from the "claim in the process."

Rosendo Rivera, one of the plaintiffs, confirmed that some of the victims reached agreements with Martinelli's lawyers. At first, he said they were Navarro, Zúñiga, and a "third party", without mentioning the names  Rivera said on Telemetro.

David Cuevas, Rivera's lawyer, said that he met three times with Martinelli's lawyers “but his proposal does not satisfy the victim. So if they do not improve their offer and meet the aspirations of my client, we remain in the case ”.

He indicated that "the defense strategy is to try to reach agreements with all the plaintiffs."

Balbina Herrera, Mitchell Doens, and journalist Rubén Polanco reported that they remain in the process.

“I am not going to sit with Mr. Martinelli. I am not interested in his money. I want him to come out saying: I made the mistake, I recorded, it's true and I want to apologize to the Panamanian people, "said Balbina Herrera.

Last week, the Oral Trial Court rejected, as "inadmissible", a series of petitions from the former president's defense, including a hearing to present a third medical incapacity to suspend the trial scheduled for Wednesday, July 21.

In his Twitter account, Martinelli reported that he will be present at the trial. "I'm not hiding, I  will show my face," he said.



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Martinelli one of the first to use Pegasus spyware


Human Rights Comminsoner Michelle Bachalet

Posted 20/07/2021

Since Pegasus made its debut in 2016, as one of the most “timely” tools for governments to spy, it has been used countless times to track the phones of citizens around the world. Recently The Washington Post published that Mexico, Morocco, and other countries spied on some 50,000 journalists and activists with the spyware.

In Panama, the program that former President Ricardo Martinelli used was Pegasus, which allegedly infiltrated cell phones through links to malware in text messages to monitor every detail... Some 150 people between 2012 and 2014 were allegedly spied on by the former president.

On Monday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, referred to the new reports of the use of Pegasus as "extremely alarming."

She said , that media reports on this malware seem to confirm "some of the worst fears" about the misuse and illegal use of surveillance technology to undermine human rights of people. .“These reports confirm the urgent need to better regulate the sale, transfer, and use of surveillance technology, and to ensure strict supervision and authorization. Without regulatory frameworks that comply with human rights, there are too many risks that these tools will be abused to intimidate critics and silence dissent, ”she argued.

Bachelet reminded  States  that surveillance measures "are only justified in rigorously defined circumstances and with a legitimate objective that makes them necessary."

“Various parts of the UN human rights system, including my own office, have repeatedly expressed serious concerns about the dangers of authorities using surveillance tools from a variety of sources allegedly promoting public safety (... ) ”, she added. The former Chilean president also asked governments to “immediately stop using surveillance technologies in ways that violate human rights and must take concrete actions to protect themselves against such invasions of privacy by regulating the distribution, use, and export of surveillance technology. created by others.”

 Shielded in the argument of the fight against terrorism, countries such as Mexico, Morocco, Qatar, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain use the software to spy on their citizens. These governments are the protagonists of the latest investigation carried out by Amnesty International and the French non-profit organization Forbidden Stories, together with various media outlets.



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Organized Crime Prosecutor will continue with wiretap trial


Posted 20/07/2021

The Special Prosecutor's Office against Organized Crime will continue with the trial of former President Ricardo Martinelli for illegal wiretapping despite the fact that two of the six plaintiffs gave up their claims as accusers.

Sources from the Public Ministry (MP), told La Prensa that, the case began from the complaints of the victims of the wiretaps and although some of these - who initially became plaintiffs - withdrew from the complaint, the process continues.

“In this case, all the victims filed complaints and very few became complainants. These people could reach agreements with the accused and present withdrawals, but the prosecution has to continue ”

Sources linked to the process indicated that both reached agreements with the former president, although no details were given of the economic compensation they may have received.

Martinelli published a video through his Twitter account, in which he said: "It is clear that if they insist on violating my medical disability I will go to all hearings, despite the fact that This endangers my health and my life, but I hold the judges of the Trial Court, Vice President Gabriel Carrizo and Magistrate María Eugenia López responsible ”.

PRD leader Balbina Herrera, the lawyer Rosendo Rivera and the journalist Rubén Polanco confirmed that they will appear in their capacity as plaintiffs when the oral trial of Martinelli begins, on July 21.

the Public Ministry clarified that the Special Prosecutor's Office against Organized Crime has to continue with the process because this, although it is a private instance, is also a public action and this means that the Public Ministry, must continue with everything that remains of the case.

Money Talks 
One of the most radical innovations of the adversarial criminal system (SPA) is the transactional spirit of access to justice. Under the pretext of the inefficiency of the State, prison overcrowding, and the relevance of the victim in criminal justice, mechanisms were introduced to promote the alternative solution to criminal disputes.

This means that in the wiretap case, the withdrawal of any of the complainants, in exchange for financial compensation,  removes those victims from the process.

 One of the great criticisms of the SPA throughout Latin America is that it favors the differentiated application of justice, depending on the pockets of the victims and the criminals… as in auctions, the highest bidder wins.



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Martinelli trial continues after health card fails


Posted 21/07/2021

The wiretapping trial of former Panama president Ricardo Martinelli began at 11:39 am on Wednesday, July 21,  after an open recess had been declared in order to resolve a request made by Martinelli's legal team, to suspend the trial for health reasons.

The court - made up of judges Iveth Francois Vega (president), Jennifer Saavedra (rapporteur), and Marysol Osorio ruled that Martinelli could follow the trial remotely from his residence, in accordance with the provisions of the Penal Code. After hearing the decision, Martinelli said that he preferred to go personally to the room. "I will come as many times as I can," he said.

The defense said Martinelli is taking pain medications, which can sometimes make him drowsy, so the doctor suggested complete rest. Earlier, when he entered the courtroom, Martinelli stated that he should be working, rather than going to trial, which he described as "political bull****."

"For more appeals that were filed so that the hearing did not take place, the trial formally began this morning," said the political leader Balbina Herrera, one of the plaintiffs in the process. "The accused may be in the comfort of his home.

Once the trial began formally, the prosecutor Ricaurte González, indicated to the judges that investigation shows that, between 2012 and 2014, by order of Martinelli, the communications of at least 150 people were spied upon, without judicial authorization, from the offices of the National Security Council (CSN) using personnel and equipment of that entity.

Among the targets of the CSN were politicians, businessmen, journalists, magistrates, personnel from the United States embassy in Panama, union leaders, and opponents of Martinelli.

For these same events, two former CSN directors ( Alejandro Garúz and Gustavo Pérez ) were sentenced to five years in prison. Garúz, in addition to being a former official, is Martinelli's father-in-law.

After hearing the prosecution’s opening statement, the court declared a recess until 9:00 am on Thursday, July 22.

"We are wasting time, and the money of the Panamanian people," said Martinelli, as he left.

Security has been strengthened at the offices of the First Judicial Circuit of Panama, in Plaza Ágora, where the trial is taking place.

Prosecutor González reported that Martinelli faces the maximum penalty of eight years in prison, four for each of the crimes committed to him: interception of communications without judicial authorization and monitoring without judicial authorization. The two crimes of embezzlement were excluded from the indictment when the appeal court ordered a new trial last November.



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Judges reject delaying tactic by Martinelli defense

Posted 22/07/2021

On the second day of the trial for illegal wiretapping, judges Iveth Francois Vega, Jennifer Saavedra, and Marysol Osorio denied a request from Ricardo Martinelli's lawyers, who requested a 10-day recess to examine the evidence to be presented by the Public Ministry.

The prosecution had responded by pointing out that the defense had ample time to review the files during the previous trial.

The former president, who had arrived in the courtroom shortly before 9:00 am with the help of a walker later withdrew, claiming back pain. Once in his office, he was able to connect and follow the audience via zoom.

The second day of the trial began with the presentation of documentary evidence. Prosecutor Ricaurte González explained to the judges the role of the National Security Council (CSN), whose personnel and equipment were used to monitor and intercept communications, without judicial authorization, of up to 150 people, in the last two years of Martinelli's government.

For their involvement in these events, two former CSN directors ( Martinelli’ son in law Alejandro Garuz and Gustavo Pérez ) were each sentenced to five years in jail.



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OPINION: When Panama justice made a fool of itself


Posted 22/07/2021

After playing all his cards, including one last ace up his sleeve of negotiating with the plaintiffs, a move that was only half done, former President Ricardo Martinelli finally appeared before the new process in the case of the telephone jabs.

And as if it were a prelude, this oral trial starts at the juncture of the recently uncovered scandal of the telephone interceptions of tens of thousands of people around the world with the Pegasus technological tool, which was used in Panama during the administration of the prosecuted for the espionage of politicians, union leaders, businessmen, journalists, and individuals.

They say that life gives revenge, and in this case, it has given it twice, not only to correct the mess of the first trial for the punctures done by Martinelli and where the Panamanian justice made a fool of itself locally and internationally. Now we also have the opportunity as citizens to assess the seriousness of this crime, ensure that justice is done, and demand that something like what happened is never repeated in the country. – MI DIARIO, July 22.



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PEGASUS – A Deadly ‘Toy’

Posted 26/07/2021

There are countless journalists, human rights activists, politicians, judges, opposition businessmen and thousands of victims of attacks by the Pegasus program around the world, including Panama. In Israel - where NSO Technologies, the software manufacturer, is based - Pegasus is considered a weapon and, as such, its sale must be authorized by the Government of that country. The scandals surrounding this platform, due to its abusive use, should not go unnoticed, when there are justified suspicions that this software played a role in the 2018 assassination in Istanbul (Turkey) of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, from The Washington Post.

 In Panama, the government of Ricardo Martinelli used it to illegally spy on hundreds of people, for which criminal cases were opened that have ended in convictions and the trial of the aforementioned former president. In Mexico, it was even used to monitor the teenage son of journalist Cristina Aristegui, just to mention one case. It is urgent to modify the sale protocol of this program, also used for malicious purposes. Pegasus is a deadly weapon, but it is marketed as a toy.- LA PRENSA, Jull. 26


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“Disappeared” Pegasus spyware used in Panama in 2012


Posted 26/07/2021

Pegasus, the spy software manufactured by an Israeli company, was used in Panama four years before that same technology was used to monitor more than 50,000 cell phones of politicians, activists, and journalists from various countries around the world reports La Prensa.

An investigation by The Washington Post and 16 associated media explains that the list of spies provided by Forbidden Stories, a non-profit journalistic organization based in Paris, and Amnesty International, goes back to 2016. By then Panama already had experience in the issue, since Pegasus entered the country in 2012 and was used until May 2014, according to information from the Public Ministry.

The use of Pegasus to monitor the lives of citizens is an important element in the trial of former President Ricardo Martinelli.

While prosecutors' offices of several countries in the world are activated to investigate the scope of Pegasus spyware, in Panama the trial of Martinelli for political espionage enters its second week with only two of the six plaintiffs who were at the beginning of the process : Balbina Herrera and Mitchell Doens.

On Monday Special Prosecutor's Office against Organized Crime continued to present the elements that would prove how the National Security Council (CSN) was used to stalk the lives of at least 150 people between 2012 and 2014.

Pegasus, technology bought from the Israeli company NSO Group, in 2012, is an important piece of the case. In 2019, in the trial of Martinelli, the prosecutor Ricaurte González explained that the negotiation between the NSO Group and the CSN included the installation of Pegasus and the training of the personnel who would use it.

Pegasus was one of the three software that was used to monitor politicians, businessmen, trade unionists, journalists, and other activists. It cost $8 million, according to investigations by the Public Ministry, and local and foreign bank accounts were used to triangulate the payments to acquire the system. The key company for the process was Caribbean Holding Services, linked to Aaron Ronny Mizrachi, partner of Martinelli's sister.

According to the certificate of use, the purpose of the technology was "the collection and compilation of information on mobile devices for the exclusive use of the Government of Panama."

According to the prosecution, the last time that Pegasus reported activity was on May 16, 2014, days after Panama chose a new president: Juan Carlos Varela.

On June 7, 2019, in the trial (annulled) for the punctures case, protected witness 8430145 spoke about the spy system: in May 2014, two months before handing over power to Varela, Martinelli asked to be taken to the Presidency the hard drive of the computer where the information resulting from the interceptions was stored. According to the witness, Ronny Rodríguez, one of the CSN agents in charge of wiretapping, told him that Martinelli had asked for the Pegasus hard drive, a mission that he and agent William Pittí were assigned to do.

Ronny Rodríguez, who never appeared at the trial because he is a fugitive, also revealed that all the printed documents related to the Pegasus operation were shredded, deposited in paper bags, and, finally, burned by Pittí at his residence, lin Arraiján.

The Court, in August 2019, found Martinelli "not guilty" of spying on communications. But, in November 2020, the Court of Appeals ordered a new trial, a process that began on July 21.


The whereabouts of Pegasus is unknown Like the first wiretapping technology that was purchased from the Israeli MLM Protection, for $13.4 million, with funds from the National Assistance Program, At the time, the Public Ministry verified that Pegasus worked on the 6th floor of the PH Oceanía Business Plaza Torre 3000. where Martinelli has his offices. Between September and October 2015, the prosecution made an inspection of the Cable & Wireless company and verified that under the IP number 186.74207.178 —server with which the equipment was registered— a contract of 10 megabytes of internet was made, from 29 from January 2013 to May 14, 2014.

Harry Díaz, a former magistrate of the Supreme Court who acted as prosecutor in the case when he was in charge of the Court,  told La Prensa that the withdrawal of four of the six plaintiffs "does not weaken the process in any way."



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Spying details revealed in Martinelli trial


"Political bull****" said Ricardo Martinelli.

Posted 27/07/2021

On Monday, July 26, the fourth day of the espionage trial of former president Ricardo Martinelli,    Júbilo Grael, who worked in the National Security Council (CSN) from 2009 to 2019, gave details of the monitoring of Mitchell Doens, Balbina Herrera, Mauro Zúñiga and Raisa Banfield between 2009 and 2014.  

Grael said that the order to follow the "targets" was received directly from Ronny Rodríguez, former deputy director of the CSN and who has never appeared at the trial, as he is a fugitive.

In the case of Zúñiga, he said that the purpose was to let him know that he was being followed.

Super 99

He also testified that he and his partner Javier Quirós were ordered to move a CSN shelf to the offices of the Super 99 in Monte Oscuro, but first he and Rodríguez, Quirós went to the Presidency of the Republic. There, Rodríguez got out and talked for several minutes.

Grael's version was ratified by Javier Quirós, who also served as a witness for the prosecution.

The prosecution also presented as witnesses Nicolás Escudero and Jesús González, from the Liberty Technology company, in charge of installing an internet system at the CSN.

According to the theory supported by prosecutor Ricaurte González, the adjustments were used for the operation of the Pegasus system, used to spy on the "targets" through the CSN. Pegasus was one of three software used to spy on and track politicians, businessmen, trade unionists, journalists, and other civil society actors.

The Trial Court admitted eight pieces of evidence to the prosecution: four testimonials and four documentaries. “The relevance of the last two witnesses was that they give certainty of how they received instructions. There was a public order division that had as part of its management to verify, monitor, all those activities that were generated in the city and the rest of the country. What impact can it have for the security of the country that four people are followed, including two of them in restaurants? What was in the Security Council was a parallel office (...); It has already been indicated who gave the instructions and who was the number one who was indicated by the witness, ”said the prosecutor when leaving the trial.

Martinelli said “So much money wasted on this political bull****. Everything is rigged, everything is falsified, this is a waste of time.”



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OPINION: Tiresome accusations


Ricardo Martinelli

Posted 28/07/2021

President Laurentino Cortizo affirmed yesterday that his government has not been and will not be eavesdropping outside the law. His statement responds to the repeated accusations made by former President Ricardo Martinelli, who is being prosecuted, precisely, for allegedly ordering physical and virtual monitoring of more than a hundred people. Martinelli has also been accusing Vice President Gaby Carrizo for months of being responsible for the annulment of the ruling that acquitted him and of being the architect of this new prosecution. Cortizo's statement about the wiretapping in his administration contrasts with those that, at the time, Martinelli gave, ensuring that he had the pedigree of all, or the audios of telephone conversations of his political opponents that mysteriously appeared on YouTube. But if Martinelli insists that his conversations are heard by the Security Council, he must present the complaints before the judicial authorities in order for them to be investigated. His repetitive speech about his trial and that he is spied on by the Government is already tiresome, especially since he is unable to present a single proof of his assertions. As for President Cortizo, we hope we do not see him later sitting on this same bench. – LA PRENSA, Jul. 28.



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Fate of Martinelli and sons hangs in the balance


Trial " a witch hunt," says Martinelli

Posted 30/07/2021

WHILE the trial of former president Ricardo Martinelli for illegal wiretapping heads into its 8th day and he continues his daily trumpeting “political persecution”  he has other things on his mind -- the fate of his two sons detained for over a year in Guatemala Military Prison pending extradition to the United States to face money laundering charges which if proven could earn sentences that would keep them behind bars for much of their lives. Their father on the other hand if found guilty could be sent down for eight years.

The head of mission of the United States Embassy in Panama, Stewart Tuttle, told TVN  his country hopes that the extradition treaty they have with Guatemala, in the case followed by the brothers Luis Enrique and Ricardo Alberto Martinelli, will be fulfilled in all its terms.

The Guatemalan Public Ministry informed TVN Noticias that in the case of Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares he was notified that there is no place for the appeal he presented for his extradition, which continues his process.

Regarding  his brother, Ricardo Alberto, the Public Ministry of Guatemala confirms that there are still no notifications of his case

Despite the fact that the Martinelli Linares brothers were detained at the same request from the United States, their proceedings are carried out by different courts in Guatemala.

“The only thing I can say about the Martinelli brothers is that there is a legal case in the United States that is progressing. There is an extradition treaty with Guatemala and we hope that its conditions will be met, "Tuttle said.

In July 2020, at the La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala, the sons  were detained at a request from the United States authorities, where they are accused of alleged money laundering, specifically linked to the Odebrecht case. They were trying to leave Guatemala on a private flight, supposedly to Panama

The accusation of the US Department of Justice indicates that the brothers were intermediaries in the payment of $28 million from the Brazilian construction company to a former high-ranking official in the Martinelli administration from 2009 to 2014.

After the apprehension, a series of hearings were held, following the process established by Guatemalan extradition laws, which consist of an administrative and a judicial part and which have been used by their lawyers to avoid their delivery to the US.

Regarding Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares, the Public Ministry of Guatemala confirms that there are still no notifications of his case Despite the fact that the Martinelli Linares brothers were detained at the same request from the US, their proceedings are carried out by different courts in Guatemala.

“The only thing I can say about the Martinelli brothers is that there is a ‘legal case in the United States that is progressing. There is an extradition treaty with Guatemala and we hope that its conditions will be met, "Tuttle said.

The brothers were arrested in July 2020, at the La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala, when they were trying to leave Guatemala on a private flight, supposedly to Panama.

At the beginning of July of this year, there was an alleged attempted escape by the brothers after which the authorities tightened security.



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MARTINELLI’S  ‘Useful Fools’


Posted 01/08/2021

He is a person who calls himself respectful of the law; that unofficially becomes the defender of the national treasury and the largest generator of jobs in the country; that nobody can accuse of anything, because it automatically begins to cackle an alleged political persecution against him. 

But it turns out that when he was president —of the country and of Cambio Democrático—, that political group did not pay the employer's quota of its workers, to the Social Security Fund (CSS). Everything happened between January 2010 and October 2015, although now the responsibility (but not the fault) is borne by the current board of directors of CD, where Martinelli is no longer even a member. The CSS has sanctioned CD for events that occurred when its legal representative was Martinelli and now the party must pay almost half a million dollars. That's how important to the former president are the people who work for him. This sanction reveals the hypocrisy of this subject, who obviously cares very little about his environment, except for those individuals who could serve as stepping stones to climb and achieve his goals. Beyond that, they are only useful fools to him.  - LA PRENSA, Aug. 1



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4 weeks reading of evidence in Martinelli trial “just a start”


Posted 02/08/2021

The reading of seven volumes of documentary evidence in the wiretapping trial of former President Ricardo Martinelli will take four weeks.

The information is reserved, so access to the media is not allowed.

Ricardo González, spokesman for the prosecution, said that the "full" reading of these booklets could take about four weeks. "You have to read all the details on the pages," he said.

On Monday, August 2, Day 9 of the trial, onzález reported that after that, more testimonial, expert, and documentary evidence will be presented. "We are just getting started," he said.

Meanwhile, the political leader Balbina Herrera, one of the complainants in this process, pointed out that "in the past period the booklets were not read and everything that was done in the National Security Council was consolidated there."

Herrera was also asked by journalists about the constant disparagement of the trial by Martinelli. "Put your feet on the ground. Let him know that we are not playing games. What he did has to set a precedent in this country, "she said.

The former president, accused of the alleged commission of the crimes of interception of telecommunications, monitoring, persecution and surveillance without judicial authorization, reiterated Monday that the trial is a "farce" and that "it will fall."

His defense once again questioned the chain of custody of the documents presented by the prosecution.

According to the prosecution, the booklets contain hundreds of conversations, emails, and follow-ups made between 2012 and May 2014 by a group of CSN officials, on the orders of then-President Martinelli.



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Jailed Martinelli sons moved from isolation block


Posted 03/08/2021

The sons of ex-president Ricardo Martinelli  Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares were transferred from the isolation block of the Guatemalan prison where they have been held since the July 1 discovery of an alleged escape plan.

 The director said of the Penitentiary System, Luis Escobar told a Monday press

conference that the Panamanian brothers "are no longer in the isolation area," and the conditions in the other space where they are now located "are adequate to respect the integrity and dignity of the person".

Escobar said that as a result of the information they obtained of the alleged escape plan from the United States Embassy and the Guatemalan Ministry of the Interior, the Penitentiary System reinforced "the security protocols with more highly qualified or elite personnel.  Regarding the escape plan of Ricardo and Luis Martinelli, he emphasized that they could not "corroborate that there was an escape attempt, because there was not," however, "the information of the plan, we proceeded to investigate, "and, consequently, they were directly isolated ".

The brothers were removed from the "VIP area", as it is popularly known to the area where high-profile inmates are sent, located within the Mariscal Zavala Military Prison. , to an adjoining dungeon in order to isolate them and thwart their plan.

  The prison director added that the Mariscal Zavala prison suffers from a "vulnerability" due to the "renovation of some walls" that "could lead to a danger where they could try to escape."He emphasized that the Penitentiary System works "in conjunction with the American Embassy and the Ministry of Defense, and directly with the Ministry of the Interior with all its intelligence agencies and this it has led us to be successful in any escape attempt that might occur. "

The information on the alleged intention to escape "was clear. There could be an attempt, so we proceeded to reinforce those protocols."

Now, the Martinelli brothers, who are both awaiting an extradition process to the United States, are located in "another space that needs to have greater attention on the issue of their protection." Luis Enrique, 38, and his brother, Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares, 40, were arrested in Guatemala on July 6, 2020, at the request of the United States due to the alleged crime of money laundering during the mandate of their father in a corruption case linked to the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.

According to the indictment of the District Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, the Martinelli Linares are responsible for the crime of conspiracy to commit money laundering and two crimes of concealment of information, between 2009 and 2015.



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Martinelli trial suspended as lawyer tests covid positive

Posted 09/08/2021

The wiretap trial of former president , Ricardo Martinelli, , has been suspended until Wednesday due to the fact that a lawyer tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday August 6

There are 39 lawyers  representing the defendants  and  when, the trial resumes only one representative from each party may enter the courtroom and all must submit a negative COVID-19 test they must also wear a mask

The prosecutor, Ricardo González stressed that the number of participants from all parties  will be limited.

On Friday, the Judicial Branch reported that it continued with the reading of 53 pages, which gives a total of more than 850 pages read in recent days, corresponding to the first two booklets and that most of them are an extract of what happened in a meeting of a party opposed to the Martinelli government.



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US gets first bite of Martinelli sons bad apple


Posted 10/08/2021

Stewart Tuttle head of mission of the United States embassy in Panama said on Tuesday that a Panama judge’s extradition request to Guatemala "would not affect in any way" the extradition process of Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares to the United States.

Baloisa Marquínez The judge in the Blue Apple case requested the extradition of the Martinelli Linares brothers.

“I understand that these cases are actually handled in order of priority. In other words, whoever asks first has the right to take the subject, if [extradition] is approved. So we are not worried about that,” Tuttle told journalist Edwin Cabrera on La Tipika station.

The United States requested extradition to Guatemala on July 3, 2020.

"If Panama wanted to have the opportunity to bring them to trial here, they will have that right, after those men spend the necessary time in a North American jail for the crimes they have committed," added Tuttle.

The request to extradite Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares to Panama has not yet reached Guatemala reports La Prensa.

on Tuesday, August 10, Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes said that on Monday afternoon she received a notification of the request for the children of former President Ricardo Martinelli, to attend the trial for bribery in the Blue Apple case. The trial began on August 5, and that day the judge notified the court that she had requested preventive detention and extradition on July 4, 2021.

The Martinelli Linares brothers were arrested in Guatemala on July 6, 2020, because the United States requested their extradition, on various charges related to money laundering.



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Martinelli wiretap trial resumes with masks


Ricardo Martinelli with face shield bearing the logo of his newly registered political party

Posted 11/08/2021

 Day 15 of the wiretapping trial of former president Ricardo Martinelli resumed on Wednesday, August 11,  after being suspended on Monday for a positive case of covid-19 reported in one of the public defenders.

The trial court ordered new measures to restrict people's access to the courtroom. 

Only one representative of each of the parties will be allowed to enter. The rest must follow the hearing virtually.



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Court rejects defense pleas in Martinelli trial


Posted 18/08/2021

On day 19 of the second trial of former President Ricardo Martinelli for illegal wiretapping, the prosecutor's office read  160 pages of transcripts of conversations of union leaders and opposition political parties tapped by the National Security Council between the years 2012-2014.

The information presented to the court included numerous messages, memes, and montages made by television presenters and opponents of the Martinelli government, prepared, according to the prosecution, with the intention of denigrating and offending them.

During the hearing,  defense lawyer Sidney Sittón objected to the presentation of the booklets, arguing that the documents p did not have authenticated stamps and were therefore illegal, but the prosecution replied that the evidence was already approved in the intermediate phase of the process by Judge Jerónimo Mejía, who acted as a judge of guarantees when the case was in the Supreme Court.

Sittón's argument was not accepted by the court and it concluded that these objections should have been raised in the intermediate phase of the process and not in the trial.

Martinelli's defense alleges that both the booklets and the discs that contain the taps are not legal proof, because the chain of custody was violated and some even have alterations in the seal that guarantees that they have not been tampered with.

However, the prosecution pointed out that this situation will be clarified when the expert witness Luis Rivera Calle, who made the transfer of to the reading booklets, appears in court.



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Martinelli claims constitutional protection for crimes during tenure


Posted 18/08/2021

While the second  wiretapping trial of former President Ricardo Martinelli  entered its 20th day on Wednesday, August 18 La Prensa reports that he has gone to the Supreme Court) alleging he cannot be prosecuted for crimes committed during his presidency.

According to the brief presented a month ago by Carlos Carrillo, Martinelli's lawyer, the case followed against his client violates article 191 of the Constitution , since -according to him- he could not be criminally prosecuted for acts committed when he served as President of the Republic , from July 2009 to June 2014.

Article 191 of the Constitution establishes that the President and Vice President of the Republic are only responsible for exceeding their constitutional functions; for acts of violence or coercion during the electoral process, and for crimes against the international personality of the State or against the public administration.

Martinelli is facing trial for the alleged commission of crimes against the inviolability of secrecy and the right to privacy.

In a hearing held on July 4, 2018, when the jurisdiction of the case was still in the Supreme Court, Jetonimo Mejía, as Judge of Guarantees denied the nullity of the process based on article 191 of the Constitution, since he warned that the Magna Carta does not establish any immunity for the Presidents of the Republic, "before, during or after being elected." Mejía also recalled that there are precedents in this regard when the Court investigated ex-president Martín Torrijos for the alleged commission of the crime of money laundering, related to the alleged bribes in the Cemis case.

"Both the President of the Republic and the magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice are then responsible for infractions of the Penal Code , regardless of the position they hold," Mejía said at that hearing.

However, Carlos Carrillo, in the claim of unconstitutionality presented to the Court on July 17, insists that his client can only be prosecuted for the crimes listed in Article 191.

"In the case of the other crimes contained in the catalog of criminal law, a state of unimputability operates, " Carrillo said.

Magistrate Hernán De León was assigned as speaker of this action , while Cecilio Cedalise is responsible for resolving another claim of unconstitutionality presented by Carrillo, against another decision adopted by Mejía at that hearing on July 4, 2018.



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Day 24 of Martinelli wiretapping trial


Martinelli views the trial on line

Posted 27/08/2021

The wiretapping trial of former President Ricardo Martinelli concluded its 24th day on  Friday, August 27  without his presence as  the defense presented a disability that began to apply on August 21 and runs until September 19.

The hearing focuses on the reading of documentary evidence in the seven booklets presented by the prosecution to support the theory of the case, evidence that the defense rejects for lack of chain of custody, but has already been explained by the Prosecutor's Office, that when they were collected, the process did not exist.

When the trial was restarted on Wednesday after a three-day recess the prosecutor Ricaurte González, estimated that within three weeks the reading could be concluded.

More th half of the booklets have been read during the last three weeks. they contain the transcript of the emails that were intercepted from the victims.

The emails read Thursday and Friday are of a political nature, dating from May 2012, when the victims already suspected that they were being intercepted and that they would file complaints.

The defense of the former president stated that he is waiting for the reading of the booklets to be completed to bring his witnesses to the stand and to cross-examine the prosecution's witnesses.

They said that with this they will unmask the irregularities committed by the Public Ministry and thus achieve a ruling in favor of their client who follows the trial electronically.



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Guatemala advances US extradition for Martinelli sons


Posted 30/08/2021

The Secretary-General of the Attorney General of Guatemala, Angel Pineda, reported this Monday, August 30, that the extradition process of the brothers Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares to the United States is "in the final phase."

He explained that they formally received the extradition request of the brothers to Panama, but that according to "international regulations", they will first attend the request that the United States presented, on July 3, 2020. Panama requested extradition for one year later, to appear at trial for the payment of bribes in the so-called Blue Apple case.

Pineda said that they are awaiting the pronouncement of the courts, due to the presence of various appeals made by the defense of the Martinelli Linares to avoid extradition. "We know that it is in the final phase so that the corresponding resolution for extradition is issued," he said.

Recently, the First Court of Appeals of the Criminal Branch of Guatemala ruled against appeals filed by the legal defense of Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares, which would give the final green light to move forward with the delivery to the United States.

Meanwhile, the case of his brother, Ricardo Alberto, would continue to be suspended pending the resolution of two appeals.

The United States requested the capture and extradition of the children of former President Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, for the alleged commission of various crimes related to money laundering.

They are currently being held in a military prison.



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Spain investigates Martinelli  Odebrecht  links in apartment buy


Posted 31/08/2021

The Judicial Police of Spain has put the magnifying glass on 6 million euros deposited in bank accounts in that country by the family of former President Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, which is suspected of being part of the bribes that Odebrecht paid in Panama, in exchange for infrastructure public contracts.

Of that amount, 4 million euros were used to buy a "luxury" apartment in the exclusive neighborhood of Los Jerónimos, in Madrid. , acquired in 2014 by Ricardo "Rica" Martinelli Linares -son of the ex-president-, to through a company called Iberian Real Estate Development.

The 393-square-meter apartment has been seized since April 2017 by the Spanish authorities, in response to a request from the Special Anti - Corruption Prosecutor of the Public Ministry of Panama. The apprehension request was sent to the Kingdom of Spain on March 7, 2017, and answered on April 24, 2017.

The latest reports from the Judicial Police of Spain were released this Tuesday, August 31, 2021, in a note from the digital medium Vozpópuli. The police agents -according to this journalistic note- advise the National Court of Spain to request assistance from the Panamanian authorities, to clarify the origin of the 6 million euros used by the family of the ex-governor, although they consider it "plausible" that these amounts come from of Odebrecht's “bites”, channeled through the lawyer Mauricio Cort, who in Spain has been widely identified as a frontman for the Martinellis.

According to the Vozpópuli note, the "suspicious" origin of $4.3 million used by Rica Martinelli through the development company Iberian Real Estate, deposited in a Madrid branch of Novo Banco, motivated the Portuguese bank to send an alert, in July of 2016, to the Executive Service of the Commission for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Monetary Offenses (Sepblac), the supervisory authority for the prevention of money laundering in Spain.

The Police also alert about accounts opened in the name of Escania Financial Corp., another company associated with the Martinelli, which recorded revenues of $1.4 million, between 2009 and 2014, allegedly from the sale of a store in a shopping center in Panama. That information was told at the time by Evelyn Vargas Reynaga, lawyer for Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares, and would correspond to the sale of an establishment in the Los Andes shopping center. Vargas Reynaga declared having traveled to Madrid on several occasions, to sign the deeds and close the sale of the apartment in Los Jerónimos, following the instructions of Rica Martinelli.

Martinelli, his two sons, and Vargas Reynaga are on the list of 49 people for whom the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office is requesting a trial for alleged money laundering.




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Son of Ex-President Martinelli loses Final Extradition Appeal


Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares

Posted 01/09/2021

The Constitutional Court of Guatemala rejected the processing of an unconstitutionality appeal filed by Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares, against the law that regulates extradition procedures.

The rejection clears the way for transferring the younger son of former president Ricardo Martinelli to face trial on money laundering charges in the United States.

The decision was adopted on July 19, and it states that Martinelli Linares did not carry out a technical legal analysis that supports the defect of unconstitutionality that he alleges in his claim.

"In the specific case, the constitutionality of its material content is not objected, with clear and adequate reasoning, since the argumentation is carried out without making a parification between the constitutional norms denounced as violated and the objective norm," says the Court's ruling.

The agency also ordered the Fifth Court of Criminal Sentencing, Drug Trafficking, and Crimes against the Environment to suspend the unconstitutionality process and avoid unnecessary procedures "in the interests of the principle of procedural economy."

Martinelli Linares has successively lost the appeals he has presented to prevent his delivery to the United States, where he is sued (with his brother Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares) for various crimes related to money laundering. The two have been detained in Guatemala since July 6, 2020.

Last week it was learned that the First Chamber of the Court of Appeals rejected the appeals filed by the lawyers of Martinelli Linares and confirmed the decision of the Fifth Court judges, who last May had ordered his surrender to face various charges linked to money laundering, in a New York court.

"In the case at hand, both the objective and subjective requirements are met so that the extradition of the requested Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares is declared appropriate, by virtue of the fact that the crime for which the government of the United States requests his extradition is of the common order, it is punishable according to the laws of both States, it has a penalty of more than one year and there is a treaty in force between Guatemala and the United States, ”says the Order of June 21, 2021, of the First Chamber of the Court of Appeals.

Martinelli Linares will eventually have to be placed under the orders of the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry, an entity that will proceed to issue a “governmental agreement” that will finally authorize his departure from the country.

“Right now, the extradition resolution is being sent to the Secretary of the Supreme Court. They send it to the Foreign Ministry, then he goes to the embassy, then to the United States and the extradition is already scheduled there, "said Rony Ríos, a journalist for El Periodico de Guatemala.

The extradition of Ricardo Alberto is going at a slower pace and is decided by another court, the Third Criminal Sentencing, Drug Trafficking, and Crimes against the Environment.

The two sons of former President Ricardo are requested in extradition to answer for an accusation filed in the Eastern District Court of New York, on three charges: one for allegedly conspiring to launder money, and two more, for hiding information about him. money laundering.

Luis Enrique faces two additional charges for the alleged use of money obtained through money laundering.

The two brothers remain in the Mariscal Zavala military prison, where an operation was carried out two months ago after an escape plan was alerted. Currently, visits to the prison are prohibited, since last August 14, due to the increase in Covid-19 cases.


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Martinelli marathon  evidence  reading near the end


Posted 09/09/2021

The illegal wiretapping trial of former president Ricardo Martinelli reached its 33rd session on Thursday, September 9 with the marathon reading of nearly 7,000 pages of documentary evidence presented by the prosecution drawing to a close.



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Recess declared in Martinelli wiretap trial


Posted 13/09/2021

A recess was declared in the wiretapping trial of ex-president Ricardo Martinelli on Monday, September 13 due to the medical incapacity of one of the three judges.

Judge Marisol Osorio, attended the trial on Monday morning but later presented health problems.

The other two judges made the decision to declare a recess until Tuesday, September 14.

The oral trial, which entered its 35th day, began the reading of the seventh and last booklet of those presented by the Public Ministry, which contains telephone interceptions of political leaders, unions and workers, and journalists.

After finishing the reading of the booklets, we will proceed to listen to the testimony of the victims of the telephone interceptions, among them are politicians and business leaders.



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