Costa Rican police on Tuesday arrested Panamanian businessman and former presidential hopeful David Ochy on charges of fraud and money laundering, judicial authorities said on Tuesday, following an Interpol request.
Ochy was wanted by Interpol for being central to a case linked to former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, who was in July sentenced to over a decade in prison for money laundering.
Ochy enrolled as a presidential pre-candidate for Martinelli’s Realizing Goals party ahead of the 2024 vote, which protected him from facing trial in the Martinelli case last summer. That immunity has since been lifted.
Randall Zuniga, head of the country’s judicial investigation unit, told a press conference that Ochy arrived in Costa Rica over three months ago, after which he made “suspicious investments” in the country’s Caribbean region.
Ochy faces criminal charges for money laundering and using a fraudulent Costa Rican identity card, Zuniga said.
The Panamanian political-hopeful was arrested early on Tuesday in the Caribbean canton of Pococi, some 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) northeast of the Central American nation’s capital.
Carlo Diaz, who heads Costa Rica’s state attorney’s office, said he could be extradited to neighboring Panama though he must first face criminal proceedings in Costa Rica and could even serve a prison sentence there.
Panama’s attorney general, Javier Caraballo, said the arrest would pave the way for Ochy to eventually face justice in his home country.
In a video shared by local media showing Ochy’s arrest, he turns to the camera and denies breaking Panamanian law, adding he is the victim of political persecution.
Source : USNews