Ex-finance minister gets out of Panama jail on bail

Panama's Finance Minister Frank Georges de Lima Gercich attends a session at the Latin America and Caraibes International Economic Forum at the French Economy Ministry in Paris on May 31, 2013 (AFP Photo/Eric Piermont) (AFP/File)
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Panama City (AFP) - Panama's former economy and finance minister Frank De Lima, facing trial on graft charges, was released from jail Friday after posting $200,000 bail.

"Justice has been done," his wife Kristelle Getzler said on Twitter alongside a photo showing De Lima in a car.

The ex-minister was in the government of former president Ricardo Martinelli, himself being investigated for suspected corruption and illegally spying on opponents during his 2009-2014 term in office.

An arrest order has been issued for Martinelli, a 63-year-old multi-millionaire supermarket magnate, but he is in the United States.

A court authorized De Lima's release on bail on February 5 pending his trial.

He was arrested in May 2015 on charges that he and Martinelli skimmed as much as $1.7 million from grain purchases made by a government food assistance program.

Other ministers from Martinelli's time are also being investigated for possible corruption or embezzlement.

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