Fugitive former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli to face charges for his connection to the political espionage during his 2009-2014 term.
Fugitive former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli is set to face charges for his connection to political espionage during his 2009-2014 term. Martinelli has been issued an arrest notice by Interpol, a senior police official told Reuters on Monday.
In 2016, after he was accused of having used government funds to spy illegally on more than 150 political rivals, the Central American country sent the U.S. State Department an extradition request for Martinelli, who was believed to be living in Miami at the time.
Marcos Cordoba, the police commissioner assigned to Panama’s judicial investigations directorate, told Reuters that Interpol had issued a so-called “red notice” for Martinelli’s arrest. Such notices are used to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition by the international police organization.
Panama’s Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant for Martinelli in December 2015 after he failed to turn up at a Panamanian court hearing on his case. Martinelli is known to have presided over an infrastructure boom that helped give Panama one of the fastest-growing economies in the Americas, but his administration was dogged by corruption allegations.
The former president has denied any wrongdoing and tweeted on Monday that his successor, Juan Carlos Varela, was going after him to divert attention from his own problems. Varela served as Martinelli’s vice president but sparred bitterly since the transfer of power.
But Martinelli’s attorney, a supermarket tycoon, did not immediately respond to requests for comment, Reuters reported.