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In Panama Interpol issues alerts for ex-president's sons over bribery allegations

Panama said Tuesday that Interpol has issued international wanted notices for two sons of former president Ricardo Martinelli on allegations they accepted bribes.

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Ex-president Ricardo Martinelli, a wealthy businessman who held office from 2009 to 2014, is under investigating by Panamanian authorities on separate charges of corruption and spying on opponents play

Ex-president Ricardo Martinelli, a wealthy businessman who held office from 2009 to 2014, is under investigating by Panamanian authorities on separate charges of corruption and spying on opponents

(AFP/File)

Panama said Tuesday that Interpol has issued international wanted notices for two sons of former president Ricardo Martinelli on allegations they accepted bribes from disgraced Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

"The notifications for Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares have already been issued by Interpol," the head of the police service's judicial investigations branch, Marcos Cordoba, told AFP.

The "red notice" denoting an internationally wanted person has gone out from France-based Interpol to its 190 member countries, he said.

The Interpol website, however, did not include the two names on the wanted list as of late Tuesday.

Panama's special anti-corruption prosecutor, Tania Sterling, requested the red notice two weeks ago for the brothers, whose whereabouts are unknown.

Media reports quoting sources close to the investigation into the Odebrecht bribes said Martinelli's sons are suspected of receiving more than $20 million from the Brazilian construction company.

Odebrecht has admitted to paying $788 million in bribes to win fat construction contracts in 12 countries. It has agreed with the US Justice Department to pay a world record $3.5-billion fine.

Ex-president Ricardo Martinelli, a wealthy businessman who held office from 2009 to 2014, lives in voluntary exile in the United States. Panamanian prosecutors are investigating him on separate charges of corruption and spying on opponents.

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