Panamanian intermediaries each sentenced to 36 months in prison for an international program of corruption and money laundering | Takeover bid

Two brothers, each with dual Panamanian and Italian nationality, were each sentenced to 36 months in prison for laundering $28 million in a corruption and money laundering scheme involving Odebrecht SA (Odebrecht), a global construction conglomerate based in Brazil. The defendants were also ordered to forfeit more than $18.8 million, pay a fine of $250,000 and serve two years on probation.

Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares, 40, and Ricardo Enrique Martinelli Linares, 42, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money and admitted to colluding with others to open bank accounts offshore on behalf of shell companies to receive and disguise over $28 million in bribes. product of Odebrecht for the benefit of a close relative, a high official in Panama. According to court documents, around $19 million in bribes were transferred through US banks. Luis Martinelli Linares also used some of the proceeds from the scheme to buy a $1.7 million yacht and a $1.3 million condominium in the United States, and Ricardo Martinelli Linares spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay personal expenses.

On December 21, 2016, Odebrecht pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of New York to a criminal information charging him with conspiracy to violate the anti-corruption provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) for his involvement in bribery and corruption. money laundering. scheme. According to court documents, the scheme involved paying more than $700 million in bribes to government officials, officials, political parties and others in Panama and other countries around the world to obtain and retain business for the company.

The defendants were originally charged by criminal complaint on June 27, 2020. Pursuant to a request for provisional arrest by the United States, they were arrested at el Aeropuerto Internacional la Aurora in Guatemala on July 6, 2020, while attempting to leaving Guatemala on a private plane, then detained following extradition requests from the United States. Both defendants filed multiple challenges and appeals against the extradition request in Guatemalan courts before ultimately being extradited to the United States, Luis Martinelli Linares on November 15, 2021 and Ricardo Martinelli Linares on December 10, 2021.

On February 4, 2021, Luis Martinelli Linares and Ricardo Martinelli Linares were charged with conspiracy and money laundering by an indictment filed in federal court in Brooklyn.

“Ricardo and Luis Martinelli Linares paid millions of dollars in bribes through American banks into their own Swiss accounts to help Odebrecht gain corrupt influence at the highest levels of the Panamanian government,” the prosecutor said. Deputy Gen. Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Today’s convictions show that the Department of Justice remains committed to prosecuting individuals who enable and profit from the laundering of corrupt payments to foreign officials through the U.S. financial system, as well as those who attempt to spend the proceeds of corruption in the United States”.

“The Martinelli brothers used American banks to carry out their selfish and greedy fraud – and now it’s the American legal system that is serving justice with today’s sentencing, especially for the people of Panama,” said the US peace attorney. “Together, the Department of Justice, this office, and our law enforcement partners stand firmly against international corruption and will use every tool at our disposal to root it out.”

“Defendants laundered millions of dollars in bribes through the United States financial system to benefit a close relative and maintain their luxurious lifestyle,” said Deputy Director Luis Quesada of the Criminal Investigations Division. from the FBI. “Today’s sentencing demonstrates that the FBI and our law enforcement partners are committed to bringing to justice anyone who enables the bribery of public officials for personal gain.”

The FBI’s International Corruption Unit in New York is investigating the case, with support from the FBI’s Panamanian legal attache. The International Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Justice provided significant assistance in securing their arrest and extradition from Guatemala.

Trial Attorney Michael Culhane Harper of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, Trial Attorneys Barbara Levy and Michael Redmann of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS ) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alixandra E. Smith of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York are pursuing the case. Assistant United States Attorney Laura Mantell of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Civil Division of the Eastern District of New York is handling the forfeiture cases.

Additional information about the Department of Justice’s FCPA enforcement efforts is available at

The Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative in MLARS was created to prosecute money launderers and confiscate the proceeds of the corruption of foreign public officials and, where appropriate, to use these recovered assets for the benefit of those harmed by corruption and corruption. ‘abuse of power. Individuals with information about possible foreign corrupt proceeds located in or laundered through the United States should contact federal law enforcement or email [email protected]

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