Dual Panamanian-Italian citizen Luis Martinelli Linares has pleaded guilty for laundering $28 million obtained from a large-scale bribery and ML scheme involving the Brazil-based global construction conglomerate Odebrecht S.A.
The bribery-ML scheme involved the payment of bribes of over $700 million to government officials, political parties and others in Panama and elsewhere to further Odebrecht’s business. To this end, Luis Martinelli Linares, his brother Ricardo Martinelli Linares, and others created offshore bank accounts for shell companies. They used these accounts to launder over $28 million in bribe from Odebrecht to a high-ranking Panamanian public official, who also happened to be a close relative of the Linares brothers. The conspirators facilitated the transfer of the bribe funds into and out of the US. They also used some of the illicit funds to make luxury purchases in the US.
The Linares brothers were arrested in Guatemala on July 6, 2020, while attempting to leave Guatemala on a private plane. However, Ricardo Martinelli Linares is yet to be extradited to the US. Meanwhile, Luis Martinelli Linares has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit ML. He will forfeit over $18.9 million as part of his plea agreement. He will receive his sentence on May 20, 2022.
Source: US Department of Justice