The dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business removed the former president of Panama, who who was arrested June 12, from Walton college’s volunteer advisory board Dec. 11.
Dean Matthew Waller removed Ricardo Martinelli, former Panamanian president and UA alumnus, from his advisory board because Martinelli has not attended a board meeting since 2013, according to a statement from Waller.
Martinelli was arrested in Miami on charges of embezzling money meant for social programs in Panama and using it to fund illegal surveillance of political and economic rivals.
Martinelli is fighting extradition, and claims that the accusations are part of a vendetta by his political opponents.
The advisors on the board change often to keep a fresh perspective, and Martinelli was the first of several who will be removed this spring to make space for new members, according to Waller’s statement.
Martinelli was president of Panama from 2009-2014 and graduated from the UofA in 1973 with a business administration degree, according to a UA news release from 2013.
Martinelli established The Ricardo A. Martinelli Endowed Scholarship in 2009 to provide scholarship money for UA international students from Panama. He also created the Ricardo Martinelli Endowed Sigma Nu Leadership Scholarship in 2013 to support the UA chapter of Sigma Nu, according to a UA news release from 2013.
Martinelli is still a volunteer leader for the UA Campaign Arkansas Steering Committee, according to an email from Mark Rushing, assistant vice chancellor for University Relations.
Campaign Arkansas raises money for scholarships and fellowships, endowed chairs, capital projects, interdisciplinary academic programs and other areas that advance the UofA’s objectives, according to the campaign webpage.
Committee members typically remain for the life of the campaign, but Martinelli “has not been actively involved with the campaign for several years,” Rushing said in the email.