(MENAFN- Newsroom Panama)
Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares, son of former president Ricardo Martinelli, pleaded guilty on Thursday, December 2, to having participated, with his brother Ricardo Alberto and 'others', in a scheme to launder the bribes paid by Odebrecht, through US banks.
In a hearing held before Judge Raymond J. Dearie of the Eastern District Court of New York, Martinelli Linares pleaded guilty to one of the five charges against him, specifically one of conspiracy to launder money, and admitted that his 42-year-old brother Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares participated in the crime. Ricardo remains detained in Guatemala awaiting extradition to the United States.
The reading of the sentence will be on May 20, 2022, and, for now, Martinelli Linares, 39, will continue in the Brooklyn detention center, where he has been since November 15, when he was extradited from Guatemala.
Judge Dearie validated a 13-page plea agreement filed by prosecutor Breon Peace and Martinelli Linares' defense attorney James McGovern, in which the defendant acknowledges that he and his brother served as intermediaries for the reception and payment of approximately $28 million in bribes between Odebrecht and a former 'high-ranking official of the Panamanian government,' who was a close relative of the defendants.
It has not been identified who that high 'official' is, but the events occurred between August 2009 and January 2014, which corresponds to almost the entire presidential term of Ricardo Martinelli says La Prensa.
As part of the settlement, the defendant will return $19 million in assets and accounts, the majority of which was deposited in Switzerland.
The maximum sentence for conspiring to launder money is 20 years in prison, but the sentence would be less since there is a plea agreement. Judge Dearie warned that he will take into account the recommendations of the Bureau of Prisons and the Brooklyn prosecutor's office and that the sentence would not be greater than 151 months in prison (12 years and seven months).
Martinelli Linares' lawyer has asked that his client be recognized for the 16 months he was detained in Guatemala, awaiting extradition.
In Guatemala, Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares remains in custody, accused of three of the five charges that are handed down to his brother, including the one for which he pleaded guilty,
The judge explained to Martinelli Linares that with the plea agreement he is renouncing his right to be tried by a jury of conscience and he cannot file an appeal unless the sentence is greater than 151 months in prison.
The other four charges in the indictment will be dismissed.
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