|Home of Panama's fugitive President
Rumors are flying about in Panama City, to the effect that the Attorney General plans to seize the Super 99 grocery store chain, whose majority owner is the country's fugitive former president, Ricardo Martinelli. Notwithstanding a reportedly properly filed extradition request, Martinelli, who associates were dubbed the "Monkey Mafia" by angry Panameños, seems to be flaunting his luxurious Miami lifestyle, on a condominium on the city's upscale Brickell Avenue. He is even living in the same building that was featured in the opening shots of "Miami Vice," which is more than appropriate.
The stalled status of his extradition, to face more than a dozen criminal cases, has led many to suspect that the former president has an established, yet covert, confidential informant relationship, with a US law enforcement agency, which is protecting him from deportation to Panama. Does he have the proverbial Get-Out-of-Jail-Free-Card ?
In a related matter, the INTERPOL Red Notices, demanded by the government, have now been issued, against Martinelli's two grown sons, who allegedly received $6m in bribes, from Norberto Odebrecht SA, the Brazilian mega-contractor who landed huge projects in Panama, after making illicit payments, to "facilitate" approval by the Martinelli administration.