No Magnitsky sanctions passed against Martinelli; anti-corruption investigations must continue

Issued by Transparency International Secretariat



While welcoming the inclusion of individuals and entities suspected of corrupt practices, Transparency International and its national chapter in Panama, Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Libertad Ciudadana (also known as Transparency International Panama), are disappointed that Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Berrocal, Former President of Panama, has not been named in the first list of designees under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act announced by the U.S. Government on 21 December.

Designees include 15 individuals and more than 30 companies. Individuals sanctioned for suspected involvement in corruption include Gulnara Karimova of Uzbekistan, former President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia, and Israeli mining magnate Dan Gertler.

The U.S. and Panamanian authorities should continue investigating Martinelli for his alleged involvement in corrupt deals.

Transparency International had called for Martinelli’s assets to be frozen and his U.S. visa or other relevant permit revoked under the Global Magnitsky Act in September 2017, along with other human rights and anti-corruption NGOs that each submitted case files on individuals and entities from various countries.

On 31 August 2017, a court in Florida approved a request to extradite Martinelli to Panama. This is awaiting approval from the U.S. State Department. A new arrest warrant has been issued against him by judges in Panama as recently as 12 December 2017.

“With this decision, the United States has missed a further opportunity to send a clear signal that no corrupt leader can act with impunity and hold on to their ill-gotten gains,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, chair of Transparency International.

“It is not appropriate that Martinelli, who is facing extradition to Panama for not appearing in criminal court, is able to enjoy his assets in the US,” said Olga de Obaldía, Executive Director of Transparency International Panama. “Nonetheless, Panama’s Supreme Court must press on and finalise other corruption charges to be added to the extradition request to the United States. Cases should be brought in a rigorous and timely manner.”

Background information

Over 200 investigations have been opened into allegedly corrupt deals that occurred during Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Berrocal’s term as president from 2009 to 2014. The former president himself is the subject of eight Supreme Court investigations, for charges including bribery, misappropriation of public funds, and abuse of power, among others. Among other schemes, Martinelli and his associates are accused of manipulating the allocation of resources to Panama’s largest social welfare scheme, the National Aid Programme, through rigged tenders and use of shell companies. In addition, a U.S. federal judge identified Martinelli as one of several alleged co­‐conspirators in a bribery scheme that helped a subsidiary of the German software producer SAP sell software to Panama in exchange for bribes.

The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act is the most comprehensive human rights and anti-corruption sanctions tool in U.S. history. Passed with bipartisan support and signed into law in December 2016, the law is named after whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky, who was imprisoned by Russian authorities and died in custody in 2009. Under the act, the U.S. government may sanction foreign individuals and entities found to have committed gross violations of human rights, or to have engaged in significant acts of corruption, by subjecting designees to asset freezes and visa restrictions. The law expands upon the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which applied only to Russian individuals and entities.


For any press enquiries please contact

Maira Martini
Knowledge Coordinator, Transparency International
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
T: +49 30 34 38 20 57

Olga de Obaldía
Directora Ejecutiva, Fundación Libertad Ciudadana
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
T +507 223-2120 / 22 / 24

Latest

Support Transparency International

Apply Now for Transparency International School on Integrity!

Apply today for the Transparency School 2018 and spend an insightful week with anti-corruption enthusiasts from all over the world!

Blog: Making Summits Meaningful: A How to Guide for Heads of Government

Heads of Government spend a lot of time in glitzy international summits. World leaders shouldn't fly around the world just for a photo op or to announce new commitments they have no intention of keeping. Here's is a how-to guide for Heads of Government to make summits meaningful.

While the G20 drags its feet, the corrupt continue to benefit from anonymous company ownership

The corrupt don’t like paper trails, they like secrecy. What better way to hide corrupt activity than with a secret company or trust as a front? You can anonymously open bank accounts, make transfers and launder dirty money. If the company is not registered in your name, it can't always be traced back to you.

Urging leaders to act against corruption in the Americas

The hot topic at the 2018 Summit of the Americas is how governments can combat corruption at the highest levels across North and South America.

The impact of land corruption on women: insights from Africa

As part of International Women’s Day, Transparency International is launching the Women, Land and Corruption resource book. This is a collection of unique articles and research findings that describe and analyse the prevalence of land corruption in Africa – and its disproportionate effect on women – presented together with innovative responses from organisations across the continent.

Passport dealers of Europe: navigating the Golden Visa market

Coast or mountains? Real estate or business investment? Want your money back in five years? If you're rich, there are an array of options for European ‘Golden Visas’ at your fingertips, each granting EU residence or citizenship rights.

How the G20 can make state-owned enterprises champions of integrity

For the first time in its presidency of the G20, Argentina is hosting country representatives from across the globe to address the best ways of curtailing corruption and promoting integrity in state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

Europe and Central Asia: More civil engagement needed (Part II)

As follow-up to the regional analysis of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, additional examples from Albania, Kosovo and Georgia highlight the need for more progress in anti-corruption efforts in these countries and across the region.

Lutte contre la corruption en Afrique: Du bon et du moins bon

La publication de la dernière édition de l’Indice de perception de la corruption (IPC) offre un bon point de repère pour situer les efforts de lutte contre la corruption que l’Union africaine (UA) poursuivra tout au long de 2018

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media

Would you like to know more?

Sign up to stay informed about corruption news and our work around the world