In 2021, Martinelli was acquitted at trial on charges of spying on an opponent.
Martinelli, who is seeking re-election in 2024, did not attend the trial after submitting a certificate of incapacity for back surgery, but the judge in the case, Barrowasa Marquinez, orders the hearing to begin. was not prevented.
The judicial body reported on its Twitter account that “the trial of the ‘new business’ case will begin for a crime against the economic order of money laundering.”
The hearing will be televised live and will take place at Panama City’s Second Criminal Court.
Prosecutors have accused Martinelli and 14 others of buying a majority stake in Editara Panama America in 2010, possibly with state money.
Defendants used a complex corporate scheme in which various companies deposited a total of $43.9 million from fees for state contracts for infrastructure work during the government era.
Martinelli planned to buy the company, according to prosecutors, but since then the company’s newspaper has pursued an editorial policy very close to the former president’s interests.
In the case, known as “New Business,” Panama’s judicial system ordered Martinelli to stand trial in December on charges of “money laundering.”
However, the former governor has claimed that he has received no “ill-gotten money” and that it is all “political persecution” to prevent him from running again as a presidential candidate in the May 2024 general election. .
The former president is leading in several polls, but most parties have yet to pick their candidates, and candidates still need to go through primary elections.