Central America

Panama asks US to extradite ex-leader Martinelli

Panama has formally asked the United States to extradite former President Ricardo Martinelli in connection with a phone-tapping controversy, the country's foreign ministry said Tuesday.

The case involves allegations that the phones of dozens of business, opposition and labor leaders were tapped by Martinelli's 2009-2014 government.

The foreign ministry said the extradition request was made through its embassy in Washington late Monday.

Martinelli has denied any wrongdoing and contends the case is political persecution by his successor, President Juan Carlos Varela.

In a message on his official Twitter account Tuesday that appeared to refer to the case,...