Spanish version

JUDICIAL AFFAIRS

Supreme Court receives evidence in Cobranzas del Istmo case

 Former President Ricardo Martinelli has been implicated in the case. As a member of Parlacen, he can only be investigated by the Supreme Court.

Spanish version

Temas:

Evidence collected by the fourth anti-corruption prosecutor from Cristóbal Salerno which links to former President Ricardo Martinelli to the Cobranzas del Istmo case will be forwarded to the Supreme Court for investigation.

Rolando Rodríguez, general secretary of the Public Ministry, confirmed this information Saturday.

"With regard to Ricardo Martinelli, we must send it to the Supreme Court," he said.

Because Martinelli is a member of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen), he can only be investigated by the Supreme Court.

This would be the third investigation opened into the former president. The other two are connected to illegal surveillance carried out during his administration and abuses within the national assistance program (PAN).

Friday, Salerno said he delivered suitcases full of cash to the former president that came from the proceeds of a lucrative contract issued to Cobranzas del Istmo to collect delinquent taxes on behalf of the General Revenue Department. The company made more than $45 million during the Martinelli administration.

Salerno also implicated former Revenue Department Director Luis Cucalón.

Carlos Gasnell, vice president of the Panama Chapter of Transparency International, said the allegations need to be investigated.

"What is mentioned in the news about the briefcases of money is disturbing," he said. "Unfortunately one of the characteristics of many crimes of corruption is that the evidence is often hidden."

Mitchell Doens, a founder of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), said Martinelli needs to be returned to Panama to face justice. He has been out of the country since jan. 28, and is currently in the United States.

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