Martinelli laundered money to buy Madrid apt – Spanish media

 
1,128Views 0Comments Posted 06/02/2023

 

 

In Spain, there is new evidence that former President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) would have laundered money with the purchase of an apartment in Madrid for $3.2 million euros ($4.4 million).

According to Spanish media, the "operation materialized" with the payment of 3.2 million euros housed in a Spanish Novobanco account and that hours before had been transferred from another Global Bank account in Panama.

Judge Moreno requested information from Panama about the transaction and the response reached them last September.

“Internal data from Global Bank indicate that an account with that entity opened in the name of Desarrollo Inmobiliario Ibérico S.A. received on January 10, 2014, a deposit of $4.4. million. Two days later, that amount was fully used to build a fixed-term deposit. Subsequently, on January 18, 2014, Martinelli's company requested a loan for the same amount, $4.4 million, from the same bank”, reads the journalistic note that cites part of the letter rogatory answered by Panama along with the bank movements analyzed by UCO.It also added that the Civil Guard considers that the operation "was only intended to give the appearance of legality to the $4.4 million deposited in Novobanco for the purchase of the house and to prevent an alarm from going off for possible money-laundering.

According to El Confidencial, the information sent by Panama "does not clarify where the 4.4 million initially deposited in the Global Bank came from, although on that date Martinelli was still president and the movement fits into the usual practice of the plot, which also resorted numerous times to that bank, which was controlled by the president's clan.

It also adds that two months after the purchase, Martinelli undid the fixed-term deposit and used the $4.4 million released to pay off the loan for the same amount.

"In the opinion of the Civil Guard, these transactions without commercial logic and with the aim of concealment underpin the evidence of crime against the former Central American leader,".

Imputation
The Spanish Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office initiated the case in 2017 after a public action against the Spanish construction company FCC.

His imputation came in 2020 after the Baltasar Garzón International Foundation, which fights worldwide against impunity, denounced Martinelli was being left out of the investigations despite all the evidence pointing in his direction.

“Political persecution”
Martinelli's defense has formally requested, on two occasions, that his client be dismissed because they maintain his innocence and that everything is due to "political persecution" against him. In both cases, the request was denied.

According to the Spanish media, FCC would have paid 82.7 million euros, inflating the cost of the steel it used in the works or pretending that it was acquiring more tons than it actually used.

The Panamanian lawyer, Mauricio Cort, also accused, was in charge of making the payments to Martinelli and leaders of other countries, such as Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Costa Rica.

 

The FCC itself recognized the commissions in 2019 and denounced before the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor its links with Cort, in its role as front-man and accomplice of the structure that would serve as a front for money laundering.

On January 30, La Prensa reported that the National Court of Spain had extended, forr six months, the investigations of FCC that involve Martinelli.

 

On April 25, 2017, La Prensa reported that Martinell's eldest son, Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares, bought the apartment in one of the most expensive and luxurious neighborhoods in the city of Madrid.

Rica, as she is known in Panama, arrived on Ruiz de Alarcón street with the typical profile of her neighbors: wealthy Spanish families or foreign investors seeking to live in the center of the city, surrounded by the exuberance of the Retiro Park, near the Cibeles Fountain or the Puerta de Alcalá having the Museo Nacional del Prado as a backdrop.

Rolando Rodríguez Cedeño, then Secretary General of the Attorney General's Office, reported that the original cost of the apartment was $2 million, but improvements valued at $1 million were made, so its price rose.