The net is closing in fast on president Ricardo Martinelli and various ministers, among which the current mayor of Panama City Roxana Mendez, now that the Italian prosecutors are naming them as recipients of monetary bribes and other goodies in a rapidly expanding corruption scandal that covers the globe.
According to La Prensa, former Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Franco Frattini has testified that Valter Lavitola and Martinelli were very close and trusted each other absolutely. "It wasn't just friendship, because Lavitola had less philanthropic interests in Panama as well", Frattini said.
The subject of the current investigations is a contract to construct four new prisons for $176 million. According to the Italian public ministry and Frattini, Martinelli, Mendez and others received money in exchange for signing that contract.
Martinelli and Mendez were paid with suitcases full of cash, the Italian prosecutors allege. The total sum promised was $20 million. On top of that, they would get an $8 million Agusta helicopter with Hermés interior.
Needless to say that all these bribes and luxury items would be paid out of the contractually agreed sum for the new prisons, paid for by Panamanian tax payers.
Martinelli also tried to get Lavitola appointed as a Panamanian consul, while Lavitola himself intended to have himself made consul of Italy in Panama, the Italians say. Those attempts all failed.
Martinelli is a dual Panamanian and Italian citizen, and there is little to stop the Italians from formally indicting him and his accomplices.
Martinelli has canceled a trip to Mexico because of the scandal, probably worried about the possibility of arrest.
Martinelli is independently wealthy, doesn't really need more millions and was elected on an anti-corruption platform. This whole case shows his sociopathic and kleptocratic tendencies more than anything else.
Nothing is going to happen to Martinelli nor the others implicated as far as Panamanian NOTHING!
The worse case scenario is he won’t be going to Arkansas alumni games in a couple of years he’ll have to stay home and watch in on TV in Argentina.
Italy, contrary to Panama, does have an independent judiciary. Now I agree that chances of Martinelli being prosecuted in Panama are pretty slim, but he might face some trouble in Italy, also because big brother up north may be pushing for that….
Italy=corrupt country+ Panama= corrupt country. I agree with jc, not a Thing will happen to Martinelli, maybe his henchmen in Panama should be worrying about this because they might be the ones jumping form the frying pan into to the fire(this case thrown into the fire by Martinelli, because his only friend is $$$$)
Yes, but all the people he screwed are enjoying this moment very much. After he is out of power , there is nothing to stop them from starting an investigation of il capo and messing with him just like he did everyone else. Oh, this is going to be good for many years to come! CEMIS sound familiar anyone? This will go with him to the grave.
Sounds like a Hollywood script but here goes.
Martinelli “officially” flips out declaring himself Boliviarian King of Panama or something of that sort. thus re election/constitution fraud etc and yes big brother will see him gone,
Like when Noriega and the assembly declared war on the U.S. (December 15, 1989)
North is in an election year, Panama is a haven for fraudsters and scammers, fugitives of all levels a true real life definition of a Banana Republic other than the canal no one can come up with a reason to pay attention us to be it Chinese or any other developed / developing country.
Martinelli doesn’t need to do that. The gringos may wanna see him gone because he is 1) creating a climate that could bring another Chavez to power and they are allergic to that idea and 2) Martinelli is turning Panama into an even bigger safe haven for foreign criminals and criminal assets than it already was.
To make US policy and trade interests survive, capitalism must have a human face, not a corrupt one.
I am sooooooooo happy that i didn’t vote for Martinelli and so happy for all the crap he is getting. Karma, Ricardo, Karma. And now that he is sending that spineless turd Mulino to Italy, I cannot help but wonder if Mulino will rat on his boss or if Martinelli will offer Mulino as the virgin nymph for sacrifice. Now if all hell breaks loose here and his cousin starts singing as well in Mexico, Ricardo can follow an old tradition from Panama’ presidents of the past: that is not finishing his mandate because of an illness, death by natural causes or stark raving mad insanity if he wants to be a true innovator and leave his mark in Panama’s histery…I mean history.
Just read the fiscal anti corruption is also on the way to Italy! God we make bigger fools of ourselves at every opportunity!
At what point do you think the Panamanian Intelligence Service/Police/Paramilitary Force will have to say or do something if the allegations and accusations get worse? Will they pretend they are all about catching criminals or will they choose silence and to stay in the background quietly. Or will they eventually be the ones to oust Martinelli with the excuse that it’s to get rid of a criminal and restore order – the whole anti-corruption thing (again).
If Romney is elected this could be a scenario the American Right govt would be happy to push, I bet.
Something will happen, but it’s impossible to say what. The government is on a full blown spin campaign, but they really suck at it so nobody believes them. I hear the Palace is in chaos, Martinelli kept under medication, just like with the latest mining brawl. This expedition to Italy by Mulino and some officials is the most idiotic thing they could do and nothing good will come of it.
We also see how weak the political opposition is, especially the Ñamistas – who were, after all, part of the government when the bribery was plotted. With or without a coup, Panama is further down the slope towards a hollow state.
Pronto Cash Blandon demanding an investigation, tal para cual!
headline is stupid, the DAs in italy have said they wouldnt do it even if they could because hes a president.
Se llama diplomatica acá impunidad Parlacen etc solo Africanos esta en la Hague y en el interior de el pais nada! Ninguna forma de la ley desde código penal hasta ambiental
If you campaign on an anti-corruption mandate and you are already rich, and this happens and is proven to be true and sticks, not a Scooter Libby fall guy scenarion, then Martinelli should resign or be impeached (if they can do that in Panama). Yes it palys right into the hands of the Chavistas and i an insult to Panamanians. The can’t even clean or fix the streets, yet spend millions on mega projects. Get “The Dicator” (sasha baron cohen in, lol).
sooner or later justice will be served and he (martinelli) will pay for all the corruption