- BBC News World
The two sons of former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli were sentenced Friday in a US court for conspiracy to receive bribes, their father alleged, by Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.
Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares He had already pleaded guilty to 28 Million Dollars Laundry Who committed, according to Luis Enrique Martinelli’s attorney, James McGovern “by order of the father”.
Judge Raymond Deere ruled that Three years in prison Two others are on probation, a sentence less than that required by prosecutors between nine and 11 years.
Since they have been held in Guatemala and the United States for about two years, the Martinelli Flores brothers will only have to spend an additional 13 months in prison.
The case began in 2016, when Odebrecht admitted it had bribed officials from various Latin American countries with more than $700 million to win contracts.
previous president Riccardo Martinelli He has not been convicted of any crime, but Still under investigation in Panama In a separate case of alleged corruption involving Odebrecht.
The former president denied the accusations against him.
“to please him”
After their arrest and indictment, the Martinelli Linares brothers They admitted to creating fake bank accounts and companies to take bribes During his father’s tenure in Panama (2009-2014).
In 2021, they pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder money.
“Is that true I wanted to make him happy and keep him happymake him proud (…) It does not mean that I am not responsible for my actions,” he declared, referring to his father, Luis Martinelli, at the sentencing hearing in the New York Court.
Riccardo Alberto Martinelli also said he regretted his actions and hoped his guilty plea would help “establish accountability” in Panama.
For the accused, former President Martinelli’s spokesman Luis Camacho said it was “a positive result, a far cry from the excessive allegations made by prosecutors”.
The defense argued that the Martinelli brothers should not spend more time in detention because they had acted “on their father’s orders” and had already spent nearly two years in detention in Guatemala and six months in Brooklyn.
Judge Deere said the two sons of the former president showed an “arrogant” attitude at the time they committed the crimes.
However, he refused the request for up to 11 years in prison requested by the prosecution, which expects to pay an amount of 19 million US dollars of the 28 million US dollars involved In the bribery trial of Martinellis.
Corruption cases involving Odebrecht have led to major scandals and opened legal proceedings in Brazil, Peru, Panama, Ecuador, Argentina, the Dominican Republic and Colombia.
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