The accused appeared in court in Palma on Wednesday. | Alejandro Sepúlveda

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The Guardia Civil are investigating whether the alleged spying plot that has resulted in the arrest of four officers extended to physical assaults - beatings of men known to the girlfriend of the former president of Panama, Ricardo Martinelli.

Obsessive jealousy is said to be the reason why Martinelli apparently organised the group of officers and an escort security company in spying on the 47-year-old Mallorcan woman. WhatsApp chat has highlighted an exchange between the boss of this company and Martinelli. The boss asks: "Shall we go ahead and beat him up?" Martinelli replies: "Mario, you know how to do things."

The spying and harassment occurred from the time the woman arrived back in Mallorca on 5 July 2020. It continued until 11 August, which was when she left for Italy. This was apparently in order to escape the harassment. While in Mallorca, she reported what was happening on two occasions - to the National Police on 30 July and to the Guardia Civil in Pont d'Inca (Marratxi) on 10 August.

Those arrested include Mario E.G., the owner of the escort company. When she made her reports, the woman pointed to him as having been responsible for the spying. She claimed that she had received threats from him and revealed that the person who had financed the entire operation was Ricardo Martinelli.

Investigations into the case moved forward when the Guardia Civil's Information and Internal Affairs Service seized the phone of one of the four Guardia officers. He has been identified as Javier H.F., who provided key information about the weeks during which the spying was conducted in summer 2020.

Three WhatsApp groups were created. These shared information confirming that the monitoring was illegal. Geolocators, attached to the woman's car, were used to track her movements, while it is said that Martinelli had her under control through a device installed on her phone.

Javier H.F. and Mario E.G. were remanded in custody following court appearances on Wednesday. The others accused were released. In court, Mario E.G. and another Guardia Civil officer, Carlos P.G., declared that Ricardo Martinelli had hired them to carry out surveillance and protection tasks but that in no way was there espionage. The woman knew that they were guarding her, they maintained.