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Panama Money Launderer Luis Martinelli Skirted Lock Down Now Detained in EDNY

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

EDNY COURT, Nov 16 – Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares is charged with money laundering tens of millions of dollars in bribes on behalf of a close relative who was a high-ranking government official in Panama.

After fighting extradition including by skirting Panama lockdown, he says he's ready to plead guilty but does not want to be detained. But he has been detained.          

     On November 16, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York Magistrate Judge Marcia M. Henry held a detention proceeding. Inner City Press live tweeted it here:

Magistrate Henry: We will decide today whether you are remanded or released on bond. You have the right to remain silent. I understand you have retained Mr. [James] McGovern. You are charged with money laundering and concealment

 Judge Henry: How do you plead?

 Martinelli: Not guilty for today for the purpose of this hearing. Judge Henry: Your lawyer can speak for you. Martinelli's lawyer: His position is that he is going to plead guilty. He's pleading not guilty so we can get through this

 AUSA: The consulate here in NY is aware of the arrest. Judge Henry: DOJ is moving for detention?

AUSA: Yes that's correct. On risk of flight grounds. Mr Harper will argue it.  Michael Harper of DOJ’s Fraud Section: Luis' lawyers fought extradition for 16 months.

DOJ's Harper: Guatemala is a country that permits you to waive extradition at any point. But he fought at every stage. He's not here voluntarily. He was removed here on an FBI plane, in handcuffs. He's desperate to return to Panama.

DOJ's Harper: Here's how he ended up in Guatemala. We were in plea discussions with his prior counsel when he left the US.  They went to the Guatemalan border & presented false diplomatic credentials. He got the Panama health minister to get him in despite lockdown

DOJ's Harper: Our evidence is strong. He has significant political connections in Panama, and he's a citizen of Italy. We ask for a permanent order of detention.

 Martinelli's lawyer McGovern: My client is 39, father of 2. He attended Southern Methodist University

Martinelli's lawyer McGovern: The MDC is a troubled institution. Mr. Harper as a DC person may not understand the extent of the problems there.

Judge Henry: How did he return? Defense: There are things that are technically true and then there's the truth

 Martinelli's lawyer: He and his brother went to the government and initiated the negotiations. And he has agreed to plead guilty. But what is he facing? He's already done 16 months. He's offering $650,000, and $3 million bond.

Judge Henry: I am ordering Mr. Martinelli detained. $ million is not enough, compared to $28 million scheme. 

Martinelli's lawyer: We respect your decision. Next proceeding, before Judge Dearie in December. Inner City Press will stay on the case(s) #CourtCaseCast


@SDNYLIVE courthouse #CourtCastCast
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