In relation to a high-profile bribery and corruption probe that implicated many politicians in Panama, a judge on Tuesday called for two former presidents to trial for their role as alleged money-launderers for the scheme.

Panama’s state attorney's office said that the judge, who was not named in the report, has called 36 people into trial for money laundering, including many politicians and former ministers, but most notably the former Panama President Ricardo Martinelli and his two sons Ricardo and Luis, Reuters reported.

Martinelli’s two sons have already been convicted by a U.S. court for helping launder millions of dollars in bribes from the Brazilian company Odebrecht, and was sentenced to three years in prison for their crimes, according to Yahoo! News.

Martinelli has served as President of Panama from 2009 to 2014. His former Vice President, Juan Carlos Varela, who also served as President after Martinelli until 2019, is being called to trial for his role in the scandal.

Martinelli, who is reportedly planning to run for President of Panama again in 2024, has denied the charges set about him, claiming that he was innocent and was not involved in the Odebrecht scandal, and that the trial orders violated the legal conditions of his extradition to the United States over charges of espionage.

Varela, meanwhile, has promised to face the trial head-on, proclaiming his innocence and saying that he would “face this unjust process, convinced of my innocence and with the conviction I stand before a well-defined political strategy.”

Odebrecht, whose parent company is Brazilian petrochemicals corporation Braskem, has had to pay $3.5 billion to Brazilian, American, and Swiss regulators over the accusations of bribery, and has opened up cases of potential bribery in other countries where they had business set up as well, including Peru, Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia.

Meanwhile, Martinelli has also faced investigation regarding using public funds in order to acquire a media outlet. He and Varela have been banned from leaving Panama while investigations continue.

Panamanian former President Ricardo Martinelli
Panamanian former President Ricardo Martinelli arrives at the Accusatory Penal System headquarters in Panama City, on July 21, 2021. - The Special Prosecutor's Office against Organized Crime continues with the judicial process of former President Ricardo Martinelli for illegal wiretapping on politicians, union leaders and journalists during time as President. STR/Getty Images.

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