US Extradites Former President of Panama to Face Illegal Wiretapping and Embezzlement Charges

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The United States extradited the former president of Panama on Monday to face allegations of illegal wiretapping and embezzlement in his home country, according to the Justice Department.

The former Panamanian president, Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Berrocal, will stand trial in Panama on four charges related to an illegal wiretapping scheme purportedly orchestrated while he was in office between 2009 and 2014.

He is also accused of embezzling over US$10 million in public funds.

According to a statement by the Justice Department, Martinelli was indicted in Panama for illicitly monitoring the private communications of more than 150 people he identified as “targets” through the use of two multi-million dollar surveillance systems.

These targets included Martinelli’s political allies and opponents, their family members, his business rivals, Panamanian judges, journalists, union activists, US diplomats, and others.

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