According to the Panamanian government, a formal request was made, to the United States, to extradite the country's former president, Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal, on September 29, 2016. Martinelli, who fled Panama in January 2015, ahead of the first of more than a dozen criminal indictments, on a variety of charges, has been living the good life in Miami since then, though had made prior plans to reside on an estate that he previously had purchased in Paraguay.
Obviously, Martinelli was allowed to enter, and reside in, the United States, notwithstanding his well-known criminal activities, both before, and during his presidency, because of an arrangement with an unnamed American law enforcement agency. Unfortunately, Congressional oversight generally ignores the morality of US law enforcement literally getting into bed with the devil, if he delivers substantial assistance. There will be no accountability, on the part of any US agency, that assisted a man who made Panama the hemisphere's premier money laundering destination.
Observers in Miami, where Martinelli has been living, say that he is looking at relocating to either Israel, or to Azerbaijan. Here's why:
(1) Panamanians know that the former president's brother-in-law, Aaron "Rony" Mizrachi, had previously fled to Israel, as well as his minister of tourism; both men were involved in corruption, and securities fraud, and ex-minister Gabriel Betesh was also involved in drug trafficking in Colombia, which was the reason that he lost his US visa, several years ago.
(2) Back in 2012, we reported, on this blog, that Martinelli had diverted his plane, from an official trip to Greece, to make an unannounced stop in Azerbaijan, where he deposited money into local banks. He has often stated that Panama & Azerbaijan have a close relationship, and he likes the country, which calls itself "the land of eternal fire."
Where will Ricardo Martinelli end up ? Will his private jet conveniently leave the United States just before an order for his arrest is issued ? Stay tuned.
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