Adolfo Chichi De Obarrio , who was the private secretary of former President Ricardo Martinelli has been called to trial for the alleged commission of the crimes of money laundering and unjustified enrichment.
The third deputy judge Clelia De La Rosa also ruled to prosecute Ivette Barsallo and Silvana Mancini, ex-wife, and mother of De Obarrio, respectively, and María Alejandra Salerno Gómez, for the same crimes.
On March 9, 2018, the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office referred the hearing to the court with a request to summon the four defendants to trial, for their alleged participation in the crimes of unjustified enrichment and money laundering.
According to the investigation, an audit report from the Comptroller's Office states that De Obarrio earned income of more than $3.7 dollars while he was a public official, but could not justify the origin of the funds.
The report determined that, in the period from July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2015, the then-presidential private secretary obtained resources from known sources for one million dollars, but recorded expenditures of $4.7 million
The prosecutor's office seized two real estate properties from Chichi De Obarrio. One of them an apartment in the Icon Tower building, in
San Francisco. There are no details about the other property.
De Obarrio left Panama on
Christmas Day 2014, at the end of Martinelli's term. His whereabouts were unknown when until April 2021, he was arrested in Italy on an Interpol request issued in 2019. He was released, when it was known that Panama never signed a bilateral extradition agreement, as Italy did.
The call to trial of De Obarrio and Barsallo occurs at a time when the ex-partner is facing custody of their underage daughter. On Tuesday, Barsallo told the radio program of journalist Álvaro Alvarado that Judge Matilde Sánchez, of the First Court for Children and Adolescents, ordered that the girl be handed over to her father, in Italy, as part of the international restitution process.
Barsallo said that, as part of this process, De Obarrio participated (virtually) in a hearing with Judge Sánchez, despite the fact that he has not appeared in other court cases that follow him; in some of which he has been declared“in absentia”.