On Wednesday morning in Miami, on the eve of the celebration of the famous Thanksgiving dinner in the United States, the arrest of the sons of Ricardo Martinelli, Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares was published in both the international and local press at his home in Coral Gables on the night of Tuesday, November 20, by Interpol agents.
In exclusive statements to Panama Today, one of the close lawyers of the Martinelli family confirmed to this news portal that the information that is circulating in the media is false and that yesterday afternoon immigration agents went to the offices in Coral Gables of the sons of the former president to request them to solve a problem with their "expired visas" and were transferred to Krome, the immigration center in Miami, where they will be until Monday to appear before an immigration judge to review their case.
In a recent statement by Bryan D. Cox, the Director of the Southern Region Communications of the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said that " U.S, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested unlawfully present Panamanian nationals Luis Martinelli-Linares and Ricardo Martinelli-Linares during a targeted enforcement operation in Coral Gables, Florida, Nov. 20. Both men lawfully entered the U.S. However, their visas were revoked in 2017, and they have been unlawfully present in the U.S. since that time."
The news has created in Panama much confusion and contradictory information as well as the recent statements by Panama's attorney general, Kenia Porcell who confirmed the detention of the brothers Martinelli Linares, however she stated that she still does not know or have any official information about the nature of the arrest, if it is about the investigations which they are accused or not.
Marta Martinelli, the mother of Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares, posted on her twitter that their children have had legal status in the United States and that they have not tried to flee Miami.
En ningún momento mis hijos han tratado de huir, ni están ilegales en USA como muchos medios se han dado a la tarea de difamar. Si bien es cierto no tiene visa turista, si han tenido estatus legal. Estoy segura que todo se aclarará. Nunca se escondieron, su domicilio es público.— Marta de Martinelli (@martamartinelli) 21 de noviembre de 2018
In a press release in 2017 the sons of the Panamanian ex-president assured that they support the investigations that has announced the Attorney General's office (MP) of Panama and hope that authorities "act in reason of the search of the truth, removed from any motivation to this intention".
In addition, they say that they reserve the right to take before the juridical instances, the persons in charge of exposing them in the media as the corrupt relatives that the American Government did not identify.
Read the statement:
The undersigned, we clarify:
1. For more than a decade, our extensive professional activity has always been private, with investments in a wide range of commercial activities, both locally and internationally.
2. Regard the information published today in the newspaper La Prensa, which the Public Ministry has been in possession since March 2016, we like make public that we are taking care through our lawyers all the requests required by the Swiss authorities, In order to clarify the information requested.
3. We are sure that our answers will result in the timely clarification of any fact noted.
4. As we respect the legal proceedings and reservations of the summary in other jurisdictions, we will act in the same way in the Republic of Panama. Therefore, we will not make any pronouncements about journalistic leaks or the political intentions behind them.
5. Despite this new media attack, we reiterate our support for the investigations carried out by the Public Ministry. We hope, like all Panamanians, that such investigations are carried out in a comprehensive manner and only motivated by the search for truth, and therefore away from any kind of interest outside the facts.
Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares
Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares