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Prosecutor defends issuing arrest warrant for Martinelli sons

She said the crimes they are accused of are serious.

Spanish version

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Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli with their father, former President Ricardo Martinelli. Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli with their father, former President Ricardo Martinelli.
Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli with their father, former President Ricardo Martinelli. Archivo

Saying there is a "substantial amount of money involved in the act," Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Tania Sterling has defended her decision to issue a provisional arrest warrant against Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares - the children of former President Ricardo Martinelli - as part of the investigation related to bribes paid by Odebrecht through Swiss banks.

The arrest warrant is related to the decision by Swiss authorities to seize $22 million in bank accounts linked to the Martinelli brothers because they suspect that the funds are related to bribes paid by Odebrecht. They are two of 17 people facing charges of money laundering in the case.

"The file has incorporated evidence which has proven that money was diverted from a bank based in Panama, using Panamanian and foreign companies with companies located in our country, to directly try to hide the illicit origin of the money," said the prosecutor.

Prosecutors say that companies such as Baxley Asset Inc., Hadar Assets Inc. and Constructora Internacional del Sur were used in the scheme.

The prosecution also points to information provided by Switzerland's prosecutors, who note that bank transactions were received in three societies where the two children of the former president are the beneficiaries.

It states that Swiss banks opened accounts in the name of Kadair Investment, Fordel International and Aragon Finance Corp.

Prosecutors note that Constructora Internacional del Sur, linked to Odebrecht, transferred $3.2 million to the account of Kadair Investment, and that transaction was documented in an inspection at Credicorp Bank.

It adds that the information provided by Switzerland points out that, in order to justify Baxley's payments to Fordel, the Martinelli brothers presented two certificates from Promotora y Desarrollo Los Andes, SA, according to which they controlled 75 percent of the shares.

Switzerland considers that these certificates are not true and were made to hide the bribes paid by Odebrecht.

According to the prosecution, the arrest warrant is required because of the seriousness of the allegations and the difficulty in investigating the case.

She emphasized that the defendants have not appeared in the process.

"They have the means to evade criminal justice," she said.

The brothers have apparently fled from Panama.

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