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Martinelli urges resolution of wiretapping case and denies blackmail

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  • Wed, 08/15/2018 - 20:29
Martinelli Escuchas
  • EFE

Former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014), in pre-trial detention for alleged political espionage, today urged the resolution of the wiretapping case "as soon as possible" and denied the alleged blackmail against a magistrate, who would seek to damage the proceeding.

"I am innocent, I have not committed any crime, I want this case to be aired. Those who want to entangle and delay the case are those who plotted this case to harm me politically," the former president said in a letter read by his defense at a press conference .

Martinelli said in the letter the secretary of the National Security Council, Rolando López, and attorney general Kenia Porcell "plotted the case without any evidence" and the proceeding for allegedly spied on a hundred people during his term "is illegal and full of irregularities and nullities".

The former president, who was extradited by the United States last June and for whom the prosecutor seeks up to 21 years in prison, also denied to be behind the alleged blackmail that took place within the Supreme Court of Justice, the court that is ruling the case.

The attorney general claimed on Monday that the president of the Supreme Court, Hernán de León, told her in a private meeting on July 30 the case against Martinelli "is going to be annulled" by that instance and he was going to stand trial in the ordinary courts, as the former president seeks.

At that meeting, De León also told the prosecutor he had been a victim of a recording and hinted that the illegal wiretapping was being used to blackmail him and influence the trial against Martinelli, according to Porcell.

"It is absolutely false, I have nothing to do with the situation between the attorney general and the president in charge of the Supreme Court of Justice." If there is justice, this case must be halted, but here (president) Juan Carlos Varela seems to be behind the case. I think it’s very unlikely to happen," he said.

The coordinator of Martinelli's defense team, lawyer Carlos Carrillo, said the prosecutor's statements are "unacceptable" and "illegal" and are an attempt by the Executive to interfere in the judiciary through the Public Ministry.

The spokesman of Martinelli and former secretary of Communication, Luis Eduardo Camacho, said the ultimate goal of the trial is to "electorally disable" the former president not only in the general elections of May 2019, in which the tycoon intends to run the mayoralty of the capital, but also in the elections of 2024, when he could run for presidential re-election.

"All the polls strongly indicate that if President Martinelli seeks indirect re-election, he would be elected president," Camacho said.

The case against Martinelli, a 66-year-old billionaire businessman with at least ten pending cases for corruption, is filed with the Supreme Court because when prosecutor Harry Díaz filed the accusation against him in October 2015, the former president was still a deputy of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen).

 The judge of the case, Judge Jerónimo Mejía, rejected on June 26 to transfer the process to the ordinary courts, although there is still another appeal filed by Martinelli's defense on the same subject.

Defensa Martinelli

Lawyers representing former President of Panama Ricardo Martinelli held a press conference Tuesday, August 14, 2018, in Panama City (Panama). Martinelli (2009-2014), in pre-trial detention for alleged political espionage, today requested the resolution of the case of illegal wiretapping "as soon as possible" and he denied the alleged blackmail against a magistrate, who would seek to damage the proceeding. "I am innocent, I have not committed any crime, I want this case to be aired, those who want to entangle and delay the case are those who plotted this case to harm me politically," the former president said in a letter read by his defense at a press conference.

Source- EFE

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