December 30, 2015 / 6:29 PM / 3 years ago

Nephew of accused ex-Panama president arrested in Colombia

BOGOTA (Reuters) - A nephew of ex-Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli was arrested in the Caribbean resort town of Cartagena, Colombia on Tuesday under an Interpol red notice, Colombian police said, as the former politician battles corruption charges.

Mayer Mizrachi Matalon (C), nephew of ex-Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, is seen after his arrest in this handout picture provided by Colombia's National Police on December 30, 2015. REUTERS/Colombian National Police/Handout via Reuters

Mayer Mizrachi Matalon is accused in Panama of irregularities in a public works contract worth millions of dollars, the national police said in a statement.

Matalon arrived in Colombia for vacations from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, authorities said. Panama will have 72 hours to ask for his extradition.

Martinelli is facing half a dozen different investigations for spying, bribery and other crimes.

Reuters reported early on Wednesday that the ex-president was named as a co-conspirator in a bribery scheme that helped SAP sell millions of dollars in software to Panama.

Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta and Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Richard Chang

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