First a little background for those not familiar with the story and then I will get into what is not being talked about on the mainstream media outlets.
The Panama Papers consist of 11.5 million files leaked from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca. At 2.5 terabytes of information, it’s one of the biggest leaks of information ever.
Confirmed authentic by law firm’s cofounder Ramon Fonseca in an interview with the BBC, these files were first leaked to German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, over one year ago. Since then, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) have been analyzing the files, sorting hundreds of thousands of shell companies that the firm services.
Prominent names mentioned include:
Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is linked to $2 billion in suspicious dealings,
Iceland Prime Minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, Famous soccer player, Lionel Messi, and the law firm of Juan Pedro Damiani, member of FIFA’s Independent Ethics Committee.
What’s odd is that U.S. Nationals scarcely found within include musician, Tina Turner.
Mossack Fonseca has denied doing anything illegal. They are the world’s fourth biggest firm for offshore services, the means by which the wealthy incorporate shell companies in tax havens. They use these shell companies, and offshore accounts to gain anonymity.
Holding offshore accounts is not illegal, though the leak has uncovered many offshore companies engaged in dubious practices. Mossack Fonseca’s clients are involved in “bribery, arms deals, tax evasions, financial fraud, and drug trafficking,” according to ICIJ
In Dec 2015 Panama's top court ordered the detention of former pres. Ricardo Martinelli. M ruled as Pres from 2009 - 2014 when Varela his Vice President at the time won the subsequent election and took office.
Martinelli is accused of several allegations mostly involving corruption as well as using government funds to illegally spy on 150 people.
It was stated by his lawyers that he is in Miami where he has a luxury apartment in the Brickell Avenue area. He is fighting extradition and has applied for Political asylum in the U.S., but has dual citizenship in Panama and Italy.
The Panama Supreme Court has declared him in contempt for not appearing in court the morning of December 11, 2015 where his team of lawyers appeared instead.
Supreme Court magistrate Harry Díaz, the acting prosecutor, said that he would petition a nine-member court plenum to obtain an arrest warrant which if issued would then lead to a request to INTERPOL for him to be placed on an international red notice list requesting Martinelli’s arrest and extradition. It is believed it would then be up to Barack Obama to decide whether to honor the warrant.
Two former chiefs of the National Assistance Program, an agency that handled $1.2 billion in funds during Martinelli’s administration, are in jail, and they’ve said they siphoned off money under instruction from Martinelli’s personal secretary. Tactics included phony invoicing, rigged bids, purchases from sham corporations and routine kickbacks of 10 percent or higher, testified one former director, Rafael Guardia.
Guardia served as the program’s chief for 22 months. He admits amassing $18 million across 11 bank accounts, and a yacht, He turned state’s evidence January 23, 2016.
According to Mc ClatchyDC.com February 2, 2015 report:
Martinelli's flight from Panama a Hawker plane (Serial N799RM), left Panama's Gelabert airport on Wednesday January 28 arriving the same day. Martinelli was known to be aboard.
The aircraft then left Guatemala for Opa-locka, Florida, on Thursday Jan 29th, arriving in the evening.
At 12:50 p.m. on Friday January 30 the aircraft departed for Gander, the Canadian airport in Newfoundland.
Departing Gander at 8:06 p.m. same day bound for Shannon, Ireland, arriving at 3:20 a.m.
Saturday morning the 31st. It left later this day for an airport in Modena, Italy.
Martinelli, continues to claim innocence on all accusations and that this is a political attack.
He has been vocal and active on Twitter denying any involvement with Mossac Fonseca and maintaining his innocence on all accusations. He has 530,000 followers.
The accusations on Martinelli are piling up as details emerge about bids that went to companies offering the highest prices, shoddy goods purchased for schools, expired foodstuffs for the poor. Public support for Martinelli has near disappeared leaving his party, Democratic Change, in disarray.
Of his former Ministers, not one has come out to defend him
Could Former President of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli, now a fugitive, be the person behind the leak?
The 150 people he allegedly wire-tapped would have provided him ample warning that he had enemies near to him for quite some time.
Yet, isn't it odd that Western Mainstream Media ignores the fact that high profile former Panama President, Ricardo Martinelli, is a fugitive from Justice from the Supreme Court of Panama who apparently is not even hiding as his lawyers divulged he is at his luxury apartment in Miami?
Isn't it also uncharacteristic that he has not been taken into custody?
Would any other fugitive receive this special silence from the media at a time like this?
Might there be more information that could be forthcoming in exchange for the US granting him Political Asylum?
These questions must be asked and mainstream media’s intention, integrity, and agenda must be questioned when they are keeping quiet about a prominent figure in the international political scene who is also a fugitive from justice.