The US Extradites Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli

Former Panama president extradited from U.S. to face corruption charges

Former Panama president extradited from U.S. to face corruption charges

Mr Martinelli was detained and taken into United States federal custody near his home in Coral Gables, Florida, in June 2017 after Panama issued an extradition request.

"This extradition is a testament to the Department of Justice's commitment to honoring our extradition treaty obligations", Cronan said.

According to press reports, the former governor, who was imprisoned for nearly a year in a federal prison in the U.S. state of Florida, departed on a Jet Logistics flight from the Opa-Locka airport in Miami-Dade County.

Martinelli served as Panama's president from 2009 to 2014. He faces embezzlement charges and allegations he wiretapped judges, political rivals and others while in office.

In May 2017, Interpol issued an arrest warrant for Martinelli with a so-called "red notice", a request to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition. Martinelli's petition for a writ of habeas corpus was denied by the federal district court in the Southern District of Florida in January.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement that it is up to Panamanian courts to determine Martinelli's guilt.

Panamanian officials alleged that soon after becoming president, Martinelli Berrocal launched the National Security Council with a "special services" arm that carried out his confidential instructions. "Because of Panama's partnership with the United States, Martinelli has been returned to Panama".

US authorities on Monday extradited Panama's ex-president Ricardo Martinelli, placing him on a private flight from Miami, Florida to Panama City.

With the extradition now complete, Martinelli's case will now move forward in the Panamanian legal system.