© 2022 WLRN
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

ICE Detains Sons Of Allegedly Corrupt Ex-Panama President In Coral Gables

Arnulfo Franco
AP via Miami Herald
Former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli at a pre-trial hearing in Panama this week.

In Panama, the alleged sins of the father may have been echoed in South Florida by the sons. Two sons of former President Ricardo Martinelli – who’s facing a corruption trial back in Panama – were detained here this week.

Earlier this week, former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli shouted “I’m innocent” inside a court in Panama. A judge there is deciding whether Martinelli will stand trial for allegedly wiretapping political rivals illegally and embezzling millions of dollars to buy the espionage equipment.

The right-wing Martinelli, who was Panama's president from 2009 to 2014, is also under investigation for the embezzlement of $45 million from a program funding food for schools.

Martinelli was extradited to Panama last year after U.S. officials arrested him in Coral Gables, where he was living in a mansion. Now this week the feds have detained Martinelli’s two sons, Ricardo and Luis, who have also been living in Coral Gables.

In a statement, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said the sons were living here unlawfully on revoked visas. They themselves face extradition to Panama since they’re wanted there on corruption charges related to the Odebrecht scandal.

It is not known if there are any more Martinelli family members still residing in Coral Gables.