Businessman and politician Ricardo Francolini, former director of the state bank Savings Fund (CA) of Panama and accused of alleged money laundering through bank accounts in the defunct stock house Financial Pacific, was released today after posting a bail of 100,000 Dollars.
Judicial sources and local media reported that the Fourteenth Circuit Criminal Court of Panama ordered the immediate release of Francolini, after he posted the bail.
Francolini, who was detained since last May 21 in El Renacer prison, where General Manuel Antonio Noriega was imprisoned and now former president Ricardo Martinelli, spoke to reporters at the exit of this prison located east of the capital, on the banks of the Panama Canal.
From prison, the politician ran for the primaries of the opposition Cambio Democrático Party (CD) -founded by Martinelli- as presidential candidate for the general elections on May 5, 2019.
"Nothing is going to stop me, I'm going to be a CD candidate, and if Cambio Democrático deems it convenient, I will be the presidential candidate and then the Panamanian people will choose," said Francolini, who denied being the "anointed" (favorite) of Martinelli .
About Martinelli’s situation, accused of a case of alleged political espionage during his administration (2009-2014), the former director of the CA said that the former president "is going to move forward" and that he only asks to be guaranteed "due process ".
Francolini was granted bail, which was set for one hundred thousand dollars on May 23 by the Fourteenth Circuit of Criminal Court, under Judge Vilma Urieta, but was appealed by Seventh Anticorruption Attorney Leyda Sáenz.
In the brief supporting the appeal, Seventh Anticorruption Attorney Leyda Sáenz expresses her disagreement with the action taken by the judge, taking into account that the defendant through the company Goldline Overseas Business, SA, and lawyer Valentín Martínez "handled more than half a million dollars without any control".
According to the prosecutor, the bail does not match the provisions of the Procedural Code given the nature of the crime.
Francolini, president of the television network Next TV, owned by Martinelli, was temporarily detained on May 21 after giving statement before the Attorney’s Office for this case.
This criminal case is related to misconduct in the bank accounts of the Financial Pacific stock brokerage firm, which were subsequently transferred to different accounts, including the investment bank Jal Off Shore Ltd, the Judicial Branch said on May 23.
The Attorney’s Office also investigates Francolini and 20 other people for the granting in 2012 of a millionaire loan approved by the then direction of the Savings Fund to build a convention center in the capital, on the well-known Calzada de Amador.
In addition to this case, Francolini is investigated for alleged money laundering in the case of bribes paid in Panama by the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.