PANAMA CITY, (Reuters) – Panama’s top court on Monday ordered the detention of former President Ricardo Martinelli who is alleged to have used public money to spy on more than 150 people illegally, one of several accusations he faces.
After more than four hours deliberating, Supreme Court judges voted for the provisional detention of the multimillionaire supermarket tycoon who ruled the Central American country from 2009 to 2014.
Martinelli responded to the ruling on his Twitter feed late on Monday, saying this was the first round of a political trial.
Martinelli, who oversaw a public works boom and Latin America’s fastest economic growth in recent years, fled Panama in January and is believed to be living in Miami.
Despite his initial popularity, his administration was tainted by allegations of corruption.