Concerns over future rulings of judge

Ex-president Martinelli, and sons in cases with Judge Russo

CONCERN and skepticism reign in civil society and legal circles about the future of other high profile cases in the hands of Supreme Court Judge  Ángela Russo as calls go out for her resignation.

According to one search carried out by La Prensa, the magistrate – who was appointed by  President Juan Carlos Varela in December 2015  must resolve at least five processes.

One of them is the protection of constitutional guarantees presented by counsel Luis Eduardo Camacho González on behalf of Luis Enrique and Ricardo Martinelli Linares, sons of former President Ricardo Martinelli, to overrule  an order of the Anti-corruption Special Prosecutor’s Office in the Odebrecht case, to check the brothers’ bank accounts.

Russo admitted the amparo April 27 and the decision suspended all the investigations carried out by the prosecution in relation to the accounts of both.

Camacho González attacked the resolution issued by the MP in February 2017, in which prosecutor Tania Sterling asked local banks to provide  information about accounts and transactions of the children of the former president.

On the same day that she admitted the amparo, Russo sent a note to Sterling, ordering the suspension of  any proceedings related to the accounts of the Martinelli  sons.

That time Attorney General , Kenia Porcell, clarified that the order of Russo only suspended proceedings relating to the bank accounts of the brothers,  but the rest of the research was on its way.

Russo also has in her  office a preventive habeas corpus filed by the Defense of Gabriel Btesh (a member of the Ricardo  Martinelli “zero circle”. The action seeks that Btesh not be stopped, as part of the process for the alleged commission of money laundering through contracts signed with the State for infrastructure works  [the Arriajan-Chorrera highway widening]  but whose funds, would have been used for the purchase of Editora Panamá América S.A., (New Business case).

The judge must also decide whether to admit a complaint against former president Martinelli, accused of the alleged commission of crimes against public administration. This is the search for alleged irregularities in the failed Tonosí Irrigation process. In an inquiry before the MP, the merchant Felipe Pipo Virzi said that the contract awarded to the company Hidalgo & Hidalgo (H & H) was granted by instruction of the then president. Virzi acknowledged receiving $ 10 million for alleged consulting with H & H, money he distributed  to zero circle members following Martinelli’s orders.

Russo,  must also resolve a habeas corpus interposed by Ariel Alvarado, former president of the Panamanian Football Federation, investigated for alleged money laundering in the FIFA  football corruption case.