Some observers in the Republic of Panama have come to the conclusion that the country's former president, Ricardo Martinelli, whose administration was rife with corruption, outright theft of assets, securities fraud, and many other crimes, will never be tried in a Panamanian courtroom. They fear that he simply has so much incriminating information on present officeholders, that there is no interest in extraditing him from wherever he is hiding.
The belief, that he will expose the current president, and other senior officials now in office, may be well-founded. Rumors have swirled around Panama City, for years, that Varela and Martinelli, once bitter political rivals, made a back room deal for the presidency. Martinelli would serve first, then Varela would get his turn, and Martinelli later reportedly reneged on the arrangement, and sought to have his own protegé elected as his successor. Also, Varela might have himself taken illegal profits, through insider trading, in the Financial Pacific/Petaquilla mining case. If this is not true, then Varela needs to make a public declaration on the subject.
The impression, now shared by many, is that a true reform of the rampant corruption in Panama's government is not occurring, notwithstanding what the newspapers say, that prosecutors are still avoiding some of the worst violators, for unknown reasons. Is the president directing a selective prosecution of offenders ? We cannot say, but thus far, it appears that a number of culpable individuals continue to escape justice.
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