Panama City, Jul 18 (EFE).- Panamanian former President Ricardo Martinelli was found guilty Tuesday of money laundering and sentenced to 10 years and eight months behind bars in a case involving the purchase of a media company.
The judge also fined Martinelli more than $19 million, according to the sentence to which Efe had access.
Four other defendants were found guilty of taking part in a complex scheme in which kickbacks from public contracts were used to buy a majority stake in newspaper and magazine publisher Editorial Panama America S.A. (Epasa), judicial authorities said.
They added that 10 other defendants were acquitted.
The case is known locally as “New Business” after the front company that allegedly received the kickbacks.
The defense team for the ex-president, a business magnate who held Panama’s highest office from 2009 to 2014, has already announced it will appeal the verdict.
Martinelli, who is a candidate in the 2024 presidential ballot, will remain eligible to compete in that election unless his conviction is upheld before then by the Supreme Court.
The candidate also faces separate charges for allegedly laundering bribes received from Brazilian engineering conglomerate Odebrecht.
The trial in that case is scheduled to begin later this year in Panama. EFE