Extradition of Panama’s former president may be sought from the US
MIAMI - Conflicting reports from Panama City indicate that, on one hand, the country's former president, Ricardo Martinelli, will now have extradition papers filed against him in the United States. On the other hand, Martinelli's lawyers have argued that any extradition order is unconstitutional.
Public statements from the ministry of foreign affairs confirm that it has turned down a petition, submitted by Martinelli's extensive team of attorneys, to reconsider the decision it had made to seek his extradition. According to published accounts, the ministry bases its position on the fact that the Supreme Court of Justice has acted in a final, unappealable and binding ruling.
However, sources in the ministry have stated that Martinelli's lawyers are free to submit additional documents, in support of their position that any extradition order is unconstitutional, and that such submission will prevent the proceedings from moving forward.
Martinelli has been living openly in Miami since January 2015, notwithstanding a dozen criminal and civil charges pending against him in Panama, and some observers believe that he will never see the inside of a Panama City courtroom, due to his intimate knowledge of the corrupt activities of the present administration.
After 18 months of continuing delay, there may be a factual basis for their position.
By Kenneth Rijock
Kenneth Rijock is a banking lawyer turned-career money launderer (10 years), turned-compliance officer specialising in enhanced due diligence, and a financial crime consultant who publishes a Financial Crime Blog. The Laundry Man, his autobiography, was published in the UK on 5 July 2012.