16th September 2022
Panama’s judicial system is under the spotlight with the opening of the Odebrecht case.
Considered the largest corruption scheme in the country’s history, the preliminary hearing
has opened and will spend days being read out. A total of 48 people are accused of money
laundering and corruption including former presidents Ricardo Martinelli and Juan Carlos
Varela. Charges against a further 29 defendants have been dismissed. The investigation
began in 2015 and after Odebrecht admitted to bribery charges in the US, Martinelli’s sons
Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique are serving jail sentences having been captured in
Guatemala and extradited. In July 2017, Odebrecht signed an agreement with the
Panamanian Prosecutor’s Office to pay a US$220 million fine to the State over 12 years.
Photo by Darren Miller