France - Panama - US

Noriega jailed for seven years in France

A Paris court has sentenced former Panamanian president Manuel Noriega to seven years in jail for laundering drug money. It also ordered the 2.3 million euros in his French bank accounts to be seized.


The prosecution had called for a ten-year sentence, plus the seizure of the funds.

Noriega and his wife were sentenced in absentia to ten years in prison for the same crime in 1999.

During the trial, prosecutor Michel Maes claimed that Noriega was at the head of a “perfectly structured organisation”, serving his own private interests.

Noriega started his political career as a US ally before falling out with Washington over its support for right-wing militias in Nicaragua. The US invaded Panama in 1989 and took him prisoner.

During the trial, Noriega, who came to France after serving 20 years in an American prison, claimed that the money in question was paid by the Central Intelligence Agency and that he had been framed by the US.

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