M & I Real Estate has written about older brother Hugo, who is a banker in Spain, and his two brothers, Hermés and Eduardo. The sons of the Panamanian former president were extradited to the United States on Friday after their capture in a Swiss villa. They face charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering as part of a federal investigation into bribery allegations surrounding the Panama Papers, the massive leak of offshore accounts that implicated Mossack Fonseca, a law firm that offers shell companies and other tax-avoidance services. From the Guardian’s Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore:
It is not known what may have been in the Swiss villa that had led police to pick the three up in their capacity as government employees. The brothers are due to appear in court later on Friday, and will be informed that their bail has been revoked. Their lawyers, it is understood, will make representations to the court. Police officers waited for the brothers for almost two hours in the yellow Mercedes they had been told to expect at Geneva’s international airport, before the men were handcuffed and put into a waiting car.
However, this is not the first time the brothers have been caught up in a criminal investigation:
The Panamanian authorities have repeatedly indicated they are close to some form of comprehensive corruption investigation targeting individuals. With several of them arrested and taken into custody previously, the United States has played a role as well. In 2016, a joint operation with the Swiss police broke up the Panama-based money-laundering network named the FRADE network, which was allegedly linked to Russian operatives during the 2016 election. The network allegedly used mail-sending services to launder funds destined for Russia. Additionally, in the summer of 2017, five of the sons of President Ricardo Martinelli in Brazil were arrested for money laundering. Two of the brothers, Oswaldo and Alberto, had also received multi-million-dollar pay-offs from Eduardo in exchange for client relationships, according to an investigation by the Brazilian anti-corruption agency.