February 8, 2023

The preliminary hearing began in the trial for the Odebrecht case in Panama

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(CNN Spanish) — The defendants in the Odebrecht case appeared this Monday for the first time before the Panamanian justice, at the beginning of the preliminary hearing on charges of money laundering from the award of public works. Authorities estimate that it was about US$59 million between 2009 and 2014.

There are 50 defendants, 49 people and a company, according to the Public Ministry. The list of accused includes two former presidents of Panama and four former ministers. Also noteworthy are Luis Enrique and Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares, sons of former President Ricardo Martinelli, imprisoned in the US after pleading guilty to money laundering. The rest of the defendants, who are not in custody, deny the charges.

Defense attorneys raised several issues at the preliminary hearing. There were requests for annulment alleging the alleged prescription of the case and lack of notification, but they were rejected.

This Tuesday, this second day of the preliminary hearing, the prosecutor’s hearing is read, which according to the anti-corruption prosecutor Ruth Morcillo has 828 pages and is the result of a complex investigation that includes, according to Morcillo, the incorporated evidence, the links and transactions received from suspected illicit money.

The Odebrecht company acknowledged in 2015 having paid bribes to obtain contracts with the Panamanian State, for which it accepted a fine of more than US$200 million.

For the call to trial, the reading of the prosecutor’s hearing is expected to last all week.



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