Amid all the obituaries today of Manuel Noriega, the late Panamanian dictator ousted by U.S. forces during an invasion in 1989, a little update on the legal travails of the country’s other notorious ex-leader didn’t get much notice. Ricardo Martinelli, who ruled Panama from 2009 to 2014—during which time he helped Donald Trump open his first international hotel, the Ocean Club in Panama City—has been a fugitive since 2014, facing multiple corruption and political espionage charges in his home country. Last week, Interpol reportedly issued an international arrest warrant for Martinelli, who currently lives in exile in a luxury tower in Miami.
As Fast Company reported in March, Panama has requested the extradition of Martinelli, which the Trump administration has yet to decide on. The request highlights the potential conflicts of interest that have swirled around Trump: “Decision that is usually made on the merits by career diplomats could be complicated by the president’s personal and business ties to Panama.”MB