Bail set at $1 mn each for sons of Panama ex-president arrested in US

Miami (AFP) –


A US judge on Tuesday set bail at $1 million each for two sons of Panama's ex-president Ricardo Martinelli who, like their father, stand accused of collecting huge bribes in a wide ranging cash-for-contracts scandal.

The pair, Luis and Ricardo Martinelli Linares, were arrested on immigration charges because their US visas were no longer valid, a US spokeswoman said.

At a hearing at the Krome detention center, the judge set bail of $1 million each, according to ICE spokeswoman Amanda St. Jean.

The judge ordered a hearing for December 27. But if the pair are released on bail, the hearing will be rescheduled.

Their US visas had been cancelled in 2017, St. Jean said.

The two sons are accused of collecting multimillion dollar bribes from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht to secure public works contracts such as highways and bay cleanup.

Odebrecht acknowledged having paid $59 million in bribes between 2010 and 2014 to win the Panama bids.

The trial of the ex-president, detained in Panama for allegedly spying on about 150 opposition members, starts December 11.