A judge in Panama's First Judicial Circuit entered an order on December 9, 2022, opening a new criminal case against the country's former President, RICARDO MARTINELLI BERROCAL, on the charge of money laundering, and has issued a summons requiring his presence at trial. Martinelli's previous criminal trial in Panama, for corruption and espionage, ended in a not guilty judgment in 2019, a decision which was soundly condemned in Panama as being entered solely due to the payment of bribes. The new case, which has been described as part of the "New Business" scandal, has been set for trial on April 17, 2023. Martinelli also faces an August 2023 criminal trial in Panama in the Odebrecht corruption case.
Reports from Panama indicate that the case, which dates back to 2017, involved the purchase of a local newspaper, EDITORA PANAMA AMERICA, in the sum of USD$43m, through a series of complex offshore transactions that constitute money laundering. The technical term for the crime is "The Commission of a Crime Against the Economic Order in the form of Money Laundering." A company, NEW BUSINESS SERVICES LIMITED, is alleged to to have been involved.