Leaked ca­bles say Nicaragua govt took bribes

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

MEX­ICO CITY: U.S. di­plo­mats ac­cuse Nicaraguan Pres­i­dent Daniel Ortega's govern­ment of tak­ing bribes from drug traf­fick­ers and re­ceiv­ing "suit­cases full of cash" from Venezue­lan of­fi­cials, ac­cord­ing to con­fi­den­tial doc­u­ments re­leased this week by Wik­iLeaks. The leaked doc­u­ments from the U.S. Em­bassy in Managua, Nicaragua, al­lege that Ortega has used drug money to fi­nance cam­paigns for the San­din­ista Na­tional Lib­er­a­tion Front. The money from in­ter­na­tional drug traf­fick­ers is "usu­ally in re­turn for or­der­ing San­din­ista judges to al­low traf­fick­ers caught by the po­lice and mil­i­tary to go free," reads a May 5, 2006, cable from an em­bassy of­fi­cial.

The of­fi­cial said that in one 2005 case, a Supreme Court judge "co­or­di­nated a com­pli­cated scheme to make 609,000 dol­lars in drug money seized from two Colom­bians 'dis­ap­pear' from a Supreme Court ac­count."

An­other San­din­ista judge ac­cused of com­plic­ity in the bribery scheme, Rafael So­lis, de­nied that he took bribes, telling lo­cal Nicaraguan tele­vi­sion sta­tion Chan­nel 63 that the Wik­iLeaks doc­u­ments are "base­less and have no cred­i­bil­ity." Spokes­peo­ple from Nicaragua's for­eign min­istry and vice pres­i­dent's of­fice de­clined to com­ment on the ca­bles, while Ortega's com­mu­ni­ca­tions depart­ment did not re­lease an of­fi­cial re­ac­tion.

An­other cable dated May 8, 2008, de­scribes Ortega as a "will­ing fol­lower" of Venezue­lan Pres­i­dent Hugo Chavez. The cable refers to Ortega as a "Chavez ' Mini-Me.'" The re­port says Ortega uses Venezue­lan oil money to fund San­din­ista cam­paigns and that "sev­eral un­con­firmed re­ports in­di­cate that Ortega will have as much as 500 mil­lion dol­lars at his dis­posal over the course of 2008." -Ap

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