A Panama Supreme Court justice close to former President Ricardo Martinelli has been suspended over charges of corruption.
Judge Alejandro Moncada has been battling for weeks accusations he profited from his ties to Martinelli after an aide leaked documents showing he bought two luxury apartments incompatible with his $10,000-a-month salary and valued at over $1.7 million
As part of Monday’s ruling by lawmakers leading a probe against Moncada the justice’s assets were temporarily frozen. He was also ordered to turn over his passport and remain confined to his residence.
Moncada denies any wrongdoing and said he’s the victim of political persecution.
Analysts said the case was a watershed in Panama’s fight against corruption. Never since democracy was restored in the 1990s has a high court judge been removed from the bench.