This is Leonardo Paul Aparicio, the former government prosecutor who has emerged as the lead attorney for Panama's former president, Ricardo Martinelli, who faces a dozen criminal charges in his native country. While you may be familiar with Paul's thus far unsuccessful attempts to delay his client's extradition from Miami, his possible role in Panama's future is not publicly known.
Attorney Paul, whose photograph, at the head of the other members of Martinelli's criminal defense "dream team," has become familiar to most Panamanians, but whose background is not. How he became the leader of the defense group, when he basically spent his entire legal career as a prosecutor, unlike some of his associates representing Martinelli is a bit of mystery.
Paul reportedly owns $7m estate in Panama's exclusive Buenaventura resort, which is hours out of the country's capital, and questions have been raised as to exactly how he came into sufficient wealth, given his small government salary, to afford such opulence. Was he following Martinelli's direction while prosecuting cases ? Some prosecutors have been known to accept bribes for dismissing cases, or for filing criminal charges, where there is no evidentiary basis for such actions.
Additionally, Paul had been very vocal about his future plans, and they include becoming President of Panama. Given that the Panamanian public are presently so outraged at Martinelli's long list of financial crimes, as well as his illegal surveillance project, is it possible that he plans to return to power through a Leonardo Paul presidency ? Remember, Martinelli has previously indicated that he would act through a third party, when he left office, but remain behind the scenes. as the power behind the throne.
Add to this the rumors of a festering plot, by certain Martinelli supporters, now based in Colombia, to perpetrate a Coup D'etat, and it is possible to see Paul installed through extralegal means, as an acceptable alternative to Martinelli, though following his orders. Keep your eyes on the ambitious Sr. Paul, as he continues to keep Ricardo Martinelli far from a Panamanian courtroom.
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