He’s Number 13! He’s Number 13!
excerpt from a letter to the Trump administration asking for sanctions against tyrants and kleptocrats by
Human Rights Watch, Transparency International, Reporters Without Borders, PEN and 19 other organizations
13. Panama – Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Berrocal, Former President
Case Type: Corruption
Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Berrocal is the former President of Panama and the leader of the Panamanian political party Democratic Change. In his term as president, the perpetrator and his close associates allegedly embezzled up to $100 million from government social projects aimed to help Panama’s citizens. There are currently over 200 investigations open into allegedly corrupt deals that occurred during his tenure, with the former president himself the subject of nine Supreme Court investigations, including bribery, misappropriation of public funds, and abuse of power, amongst others. Among the bribery cases being investigated is one in which the perpetrator and his associates allegedly received a $20 million bribe from an Italian arms producer in exchange for securing a $200 million contract. A March 7th, 2015 ruling in an Italian court found that Martinelli participated and cooperated in an attempt to extort and intimidate the Italian firm Impregilo into financing the construction of a hospital. A US federal judge identified Martinelli as one of several alleged co-conspirators in a bribery scheme that helped a subsidiary of the German software producer SAP sell software to Panama in exchange for bribes. According to press reports, Martinelli was arrested in Miami, Florida on June 13, 2017, pursuant to a provisional warrant issued by the Justice Department in response to an extradition request from Panama related to allegations that he used public funds for purposes of political espionage.
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