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US Jails Sons Of Panama Ex-President For Three Years Over Corruption

A New York court on Friday sentenced two sons of former Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli to three years in prison on charges of corruption linked to the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

The sentence against Luis Enrique and Ricardo Martinelli, which also includes a fine of $250,000, is well below the nine to 11 years prosecutors had asked for.

They were accused of having received $28 million in bribes from the disgraced construction group, of which $19 million had passed through US accounts.

The brothers pleaded guilty last December after being extradited from Guatemala to the United States.

Washington had demanded their extradition over accusations of involvement in operations by Odebrecht, which allegedly paid more than $700 million in bribes to Panamanian government officials to win contracts.

Panama is also demanding that the Martinelli brothers face charges there in another corruption scandal.

Their father, who served as president from 2009 to 2014, is himself accused in the Odebrecht case, but has announced his intention to run for president in 2024.

The Odebrecht scandal has hit a slew of leaders across Latin America, and former bosses of the Brazilian company have admitted in court to illegally distributing millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for public contracts.

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