Panama State sues Martinelli for $159 million

Ex-president Ricardo Martinelli

911Views 0Comments Posted 11/09/2023

The Panamanian State has initiated a  civil lawsuit against former President Ricardo Martinelli for moral and material damage caused by the events related to the Odebrecht case in which he is prosecuted and for which he has to face the trial on September 27 before the Second Liquidating Court of Criminal Cases. The $159 million lawsuit was filed on August 8, by the legal representative of the Ministry of Public Security in charge of Juan Manuel Pino who in the  Odebrecht case represents the State as plaintiff.

The document indicates that the civil action against Martinelli is largely due to the impact on the country's reputation at an international level, due to the placement of the Republic of Panama on the discriminatory lists of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The action is to claim responsibility within the criminal process followed by former presidents Martinelli, and Juan Carlos Varela (sued for 30 million)  and former officials such as Frank De Lima, and Carlos Duboy, among others, as alleged defendants of money laundering crimes.

The State demand is divided into the material damage considered to amount to $59 million and moral damage of $100 million, plus costs, expenses, and legal interests.

The facts on which the action is based are framed between the years 2010 and 2014, in which the plaintiff indicates that the Norberto Odebrecht Construction Company "made corrupt payments of more than $59 million s to Panamanian government officials and intermediaries who work for them in Panama to obtain, among other things, public works contracts".

They also highlight that between 2009 and 2012, Constructora Norberto Odebrecht agreed to pay $6 million to two close relatives of a high-ranking Panamanian government official, in connection with government infrastructure projects, with the understanding that in exchange,  the government official will ensure Odebrecht 's participation under the public contracts managed for various infrastructure works in the Republic of Panama.

" The introduction of the money paid as bribes by the Norberto Odebrecht Construction Company into the Panamanian financial system was done to cover up, hide and disguise their illicit origin, thus carrying out a crime against the economic order by Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, in the form of money laundering ", is reflected in the civil lawsuit as evidence the criminal process for Odebrecht bribe payments by the Second Liquidation Court of Criminal Cases against Martinelli and 35 other people identified for the alleged commission of the crime of money laundering.

The Ministry of Public said: "In compliance with the provisions of Resolution No. 19 of February 14, 2017, by which the Minister of Public Security was authorized to file a complaint, on behalf of the State against whoever or whoever was responsible for the investigations carried out by the Ministry Public related to the alleged acts of corruption and crimes against the Public Administration and the Economic Order due to events linked to the Constructora Odebrecht, SA company, the Ministry of Public Security granted Special Power to Doctor Carlos Enrique Muñoz Pope to represent the Panamanian State in this process ."

In this context, and taking into account the magnitude of the damage caused to the public treasury as a consequence of the illicit acts identified in this process, it is intended to establish a historical precedent and compensate for the moral, material, and reputational damage of the Panamanian State as the main affected party, being the filing of civil actions derived from the crime, the ideal mechanism for this purpose.”