Dominican police arrest 19 in high-profile corruption case


SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Authorities within the Dominican Republic have arrested 19 folks in a sweeping corruption case that accuses a well known former presidential candidate and three former officers of embezzling practically $350 million and unlawful marketing campaign financing.

The arrests are the most recent in a string of investigations that officers have launched up to now two years as a part of a crackdown on rampant authorities corruption within the Caribbean nation.

Amongst these detained Saturday night time is Gonzalo Castillo, a former public works minister who received 37% of the vote when he ran as presidential candidate for the Dominican Liberation Celebration within the 2020 normal elections received by present President Luis Abinader.

Additionally arrested is a former treasury minister, Donald Guerrero; former comptroller normal, Daniel Omar Caamaño; and former administrative minister to the presidency, José Ramón Peralta.

Prosecutors mentioned they’re accused of paying bribes, laundering property and illegally financing the earlier electoral marketing campaign on an “unprecedented” scale after embezzling $347 million of presidency funds.

The suspects had been charged after authorities launched 40 raids focusing on their properties and companies within the capital of Santo Domingo and past.

Tons of of Castillo supporters gathered Monday exterior the Justice Palace to protest his arrest as they waved the social gathering’s purple-and-yellow flag and tried to break the constructing earlier than police scattered the gang with tear fuel. In the meantime, officers with the Dominican Liberation Celebration questioned the impartiality of prosecutors and accused them of solely investigating and arresting former authorities officers and never wanting into corruption allegations towards Abinader’s present administratoin.

“It’s clear that behind these actions, there are markedly political and re-election pursuits,” mentioned Charlie Mariotti, the social gathering’s secretary normal.

Police on Saturday additionally arrested the previous director of the State Sugar Council, Luis Miguel Piccirilo; former director of the Nationwide Cadastre, Claudio Silva Peña; and the previous administrators of Casinos and Playing, Oscar Chalas Guerrero and Julián Omar Fernández.

Protection attorneys for the accused couldn’t be instantly reached for remark. The suspects had been anticipated to look in court docket Monday.

Final yr, authorities arrested Jean Alain Rodríguez, the nation’s former legal professional normal, and different suspects accused of diverting authorities funds in an unrelated case.

One among Abinader’s guarantees within the 2020 marketing campaign was to nominate an unbiased legal professional normal to combat corruption and impunity. He chosen Miriam Germán Brito, a former choose held in excessive regard.

Since then, varied high-ranking authorities officers tied to former President Danilo Medina have been arrested, together with two of his siblings.


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