The two brothers are expected to return to Panama on Wednesday, where they and their father are facing corruption charges.
The two sons of former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli are expected to return to the country after serving time in prison in the United States for their involvement in international fraud.
Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares and Ricardo Martinelli Linares are expected to arrive in Panama on Wednesday evening after being released early in the afternoon, shortly after completing three years in prison in the US.
They were accused of conspiring to embezzle millions of dollars from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.
In August, the brothers are expected to go on trial again, this time in Panama, for being involved in a scandal during their father’s time in office between 2009 and 2014. The brothers admitted to accepting $28m in bribes from the construction group, of which about $19m went through US accounts.
Their father, Mr. Martinelli, is also awaiting trial on charges of embezzlement in the Odebrecht case but has said he will run for president again in 2024. Another former president, Juan Carlos Varela, is also due to go on trial in August. case, which includes the charges against 36 people.
In 2016, construction company Odebrecht admitted that it paid nearly $788m in bribes between 2001 and 2016 to win contracts in Panama and 11 other countries. It paid US$3.5bn in fines.
In December 2021, two Martinelli brothers pleaded guilty to money laundering after being extradited from Guatemala to the US. He was detained in Guatemala for 23 months before being released.
In May last year, he was sentenced to three years in a United States prison but was released on Wednesday after serving almost two and a half years, including the time he had already spent in prison. The AFP news agency reported that the brothers were released early due to good behavior.
Their return to Panama is closely followed, especially as the August trial approaches. Panama’s attorney general, Javier Caraballo, said on Tuesday that the brothers would face justice in the country.
The brothers have paid $14 million in advance to avoid being jailed in Panama while they await trial on charges of money laundering and corruption.