The US Department of Justice has charged Luis Martinelli Linares and Ricardo Martinelli Linares with conspiracy to commit money-laundering. The two defendants partook in a bribery and money-laundering scheme facilitated by the Brazil-based global construction conglomerate Odebrecht.
For this scheme, Odebrecht had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 2016. The scheme involved over $700 million paid in bribes to government officials and other influential people in Panama and other countries to aid Odebrecht’s business.
Between 2009 and 2014, the two defendants made bribe payments worth $28 million for Odebrecht to a Panama government official. The official also happened to be their close relative. To facilitate the transfer of illegal funds, the defendants owned secret bank accounts in the names of foreign shell companies. They conducted several such illegal financial transactions through US banks in New York and other regions.