Re the Dec. 9 story “Suspected of corruption at home, powerful foreigners find refuge in U.S.”:
1. Former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli is not in the United States to avoid charges. He has not been accused or formally charged, and he has faced the process through his attorneys. He is in the United States because he faces political persecution by President Juan Carlos Varela’s administration.
2. None of the investigations initiated against Martinelli are in response to a complaint. The investigations are politically motivated.
3. Martinelli has not been charged with any crime by Panama’s Supreme Court of Justice.
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4. The alleged link in the case known as “dehydrated food” arises from a statement by the former PAN director, which sprang from undue and illegal pressures to falsely implicate Martinelli. In the audits carried out by the republic’s general controller, which supervises public funds, Martinelli is not mentioned at all.
5. Regarding investigations into alleged wiretaps, there is no documented evidence that links to Martinelli. The linkage comes from a supposed protected witness. In the court in which the investigation was initiated, the judge determined that there is no protected witness; and the address and telephone number provided by the alleged protected witness are false.
7. To date, 21 requests for investigation have been submitted to the Supreme Court of Justice trying to falsely involve Martinelli, of which only seven have been admitted. Nine are pending a decision, and five have been rejected. None of these investigations have led to charges.
Luis Eduardo Camacho Castro, spokesman for former President Ricardo Martinelli of Panama
Editor’s note: Reporters made several attempts to reach Ricardo Martinelli before the story’s publication and received no response. The Herald stands by the facts as reported.