Ricardo Martinelli will be investigated for hiring four civil guards to spy on a woman

Monitoring in nautical days, surveillance in restaurants, photographs and even a geolocator in the car. Four agents of the Civil Guard and three other people have been arrested by the Internal Affairs unit of the Armed Institute accused of belonging to a criminal organization, disclosure of secrets and coercion for their alleged involvement in an illegal monitoring operation of a woman in Mallorca.

Police investigations point to former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli Berrocal as the person who would have commissioned and paid for the espionage operation during the woman’s stay on the island in July 2020, according to reports from the Civil Guard to which he has had access. Spanish newspaper El Pais. The former president appears as being investigated in the case, according to police sources.

The seven involved were arrested last Monday by agents displaced from Madrid and since then they have remained in the dungeons of the Civil Guard of Palma.

This Wednesday morning the four agents of the Civil Guard from the Balearic Islands area arrested while serving in places such as the Marivent Palace, the Son Sant Joan airport and the municipality of Calviá have been brought to justice. The other three detainees are a soldier, the owner and a worker of a private security company.

According to the documentation included in the summary, the investigated events occurred between July 8 and 14, 2020.

The agents, in a coordinated manner, carried out control and monitoring surveillance on a businesswoman who lives between Miami and Mallorca.

Investigators have documented the use by those involved of geolocation and image-taking devices during the surveillance, of which they supposedly kept Martinelli informed, who wanted to know the personal and intimate relationships that this woman had with whom “he would maintain a sentimental relationship”, according to one of the police reports included in the case.

Always according to this documentation, the detained civil guards created a group on the WhatsApp instant messaging application called “Operation Cockatoo” to coordinate during the surveillance. In it, they identified themselves with code names such as “Puma I” or “Puma II”, in the case of the agents, and as “Zeus”, in the case of former President Martinelli.

In this message application, the researchers have documented an exchange of messages between Martinelli and one of the agents from which it is deduced that the follow-up activities that were subsequently carried out on the woman were previously negotiated and agreed between the participants. “Give me an account to transfer a part” says Martinelli, to which one of the detainees replies “I sent it to you on WhatsApp.”

The monitoring of the woman was deployed for several days in different locations in Mallorca. The first service was done “for free” and took place in Port Adriano “as an extra gift” to Martinelli, according to the records. The next day, the agents stood at the exit of the house where the woman had slept and exchanged impressions in the messaging group about the need to know what her car was because “if we had confirmed it, we could already put the locator on the vehicle and thus be able to follow up at a greater distance, ”they assured.

Finally, one of the agents shared several locations of the journey made by the car and provided its license plate. Later, another of them confirmed that a locator has been installed: “with two tracking commands instead of one and beacon in the car no more is needed”.

The follow-ups were attempted while the woman was riding a jet ski, when she was in a restaurant, in a cocktail bar and during a day on board a boat. In one of her episodes they tried to make physical contact with her, according to the conversations included in her cause.

Martinelli allegedly sent a message to the group in which he authorized one of the agents “to enter the hornet’s nest” and ordered “the kid, who is his type, to proceed.” Another of those involved replied that there was no problem doing it, to which the former president of Panama replied that “César’s wife not only has to be, but throw pa [sic] Back the attacks.” An expression that, for the researchers, once again highlights Martinelli’s possible relationship with the woman.

Ricardo Martinelli will be investigated for hiring four civil guards to spy on a woman
One of those arrested for spying on a woman in Mallorca enters the Palma court this Wednesday, guarded by a civil guard. (Courtesy)

In the messaging group, the participants in the tracking device continuously share the locations of the woman and photographs of the people who accompany her, so that Martinelli can identify them. However, the continuous monitoring of the woman raised her suspicions, so she decided to report to the Civil Guard and the National Police that she was being the victim of illegal surveillance.

Ricardo Martinelli was president of Panama between 2009 and 2014. In 2017 he was arrested in the United States for a case of alleged illegal wiretapping of hundreds of people, including journalists and businessmen, during his tenure. After being extradited to his country, he was tried and acquitted last November. He is immersed in other legal cases, such as the Odebrecht case for alleged money laundering and another that investigates an operation to buy a media conglomerate.

Last December, he declared by videoconference before the National High Court for an alleged collection of commissions for the award of a series of public works to a consortium headed by the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, of which the Spanish Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas was a part.

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