Cable en el que la Embajada de EE UU teme el regreso a la presidencia de Arnoldo Alemán

Date:2006-05-05 17:53:00
Source:Embassy Managua

DE RUEHMU #1004/01 1251753
P 051753Z MAY 06





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) This is the third and final cable in a series
summarizing the crimes and abuses of power committed by
Nicaragua's corrupt party bosses and their associates. The
first cable focused on Daniel Ortega and his family, the
second highlighted the abuses of the FSLN, both while in
power in the 1980s and in opposition since 1990. This third
cable centers on the crimes and abuses of ex-president and
Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC) leader Arnoldo Aleman. As
noted in reftels, post intends to use the information from
these "rap sheets" in discussions with domestic and
international interlocutors as a means of reminding
Nicaraguan voters and others of the true character of Aleman,
Ortega, and the Sandinistas. While the summaries themselves
are unclassified, some of the sources of information are SBU.
Post will distribute the summaries to appropriate contacts,
but not the sources. Post is sending both the summaries and
the sources to the Department and other Washington agencies
for similar uses.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Theft of 100 Million Dollars from the Nicaraguan People and
Laundering of the Money in Nicaragua and Abroad
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2. (U) While Arnoldo Aleman was president, he and his family
stole approximately 100 million dollars from the Nicaraguan
people by looting money from the government treasury and the
accounts of many different government agencies and ministries
that were controlled by corrupt associates, including Byron
Jerez, Esteban Duque Estrada, Jorge Solis, Noel Ramirez, and
Eduardo Mena. Aleman, his family, and their associates used
a variety of schemes to steal and launder government money,
but most of the funds were eventually laundered through shell
companies and accounts in Panama, the United States, and the
Dominican Republic. Once he laundered the stolen money,
Aleman then used it to support his family's lavish lifestyle,
as well as to bribe and reward political allies, manipulate
Nicaragua's institutions, and maintain his political power.

3. (SBU) Sources: thousands of checks and other financial
documents from the presidency, numerous government ministries
and agencies signed personally by Arnoldo Aleman and his
corrupt associates, bank account information from Panama, the
United States, and Nicaragua in possession of all three
governments; court records from Aleman's trial in Nicaragua
and the original accusations brought against Aleman by the

The Path and Documentation of Aleman's Money Laundering
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

4. (U) Most of the elaborate schemes orchestrated by Arnoldo
Aleman involved the transfer of public funds from various
government agencies to the accounts of shell corporations
(mostly in Panama) that were established for the sole purpose
of defrauding the people and government of Nicaragua. Tens
of millions of dollars from agencies like ENITEL, the Rural
Development Institute (IDR), and the Directorate of Taxation
(DGI), all of which were controlled by cronies of Aleman,
were transferred to shell companies like Industrias Andinas
de Desarollo (IAD) and Consultores Corporativos in Panama.
Once the money arrived in the accounts of the shell
companies, Aleman and his family then transferred it to the
Panamanian accounts of the Nicaraguan Democratic Foundation
(FDN). Some of this money was disguised as a fake "donation"
from the government of Taiwan.

5. (U) Once funds were in the FDN accounts, Aleman used them
for both political and family ends. He bribed and rewarded
political supporters and transferred funds to other accounts
for his family's private use. Documentation on all of this
money laundering, including copies of the documents signed
and passports used by the Aleman family when they opened the
shell companies, checks signed by Arnoldo Aleman transferring
funds from one shell company to another, and bank transfer
documents showing the origin and destination of the payments
are all in the possession of the governments of Nicaragua,
Panama, the United States, and the Dominican Republic.

6. (SBU) Sources: thousands of checks and other financial
documents from the presidency, numerous government ministries
and agencies signed personally by Arnoldo Aleman and his
corrupt associates, bank account information from Panama, the
United States, and Nicaragua in possession of all three
governments, court records from Aleman's trial in Nicaragua
and, the original accusation brought against Aleman by the
office of the Nicaraguan Attorney General (Procuraduria).

The Role of Aleman's Family in his Money Laundering
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

7. (U) While Arnoldo Aleman orchestrated the entire
conspiracy, personally signed checks to launder government
funds, and gave Byron Jerez and others orders to transfer
government funds into private accounts, other members of his
family also played important parts in the money laundering
process. The list that follows does not include all of
Aleman's relatives who participated in his corruption, only
the most prominent individuals.

8. (U) Aleman's wife, Maria Fernanda Flores de Aleman,
personally established several of the shell companies in
Panama that Aleman used to launder his stolen funds,
including Locery S.A., Aleman-Flores Corporation, and
Inversiones Quisa S.A. She flew to Panama on numerous
occasions, showed her passport, and signed documents to
establish the companies and open their bank accounts. In
2002, when Aleman transferred 4 million dollars in stolen
government funds from Nicstate Development (another shell
company in Panama) to four other sham companies, he ordered
that the Nicstate checks for the 4 million dollars be made
out to Maria Fernanda and delivered to her personally. She
took personal possession of these checks in Panama on July
25, 2002 and signed for them.

9. (U) Jose Antonio Flores Lovo, Maria Fernanda's father and
Aleman's father-in-law, also played key parts in Aleman's
money laundering schemes. After Maria Fernanda received the
checks for the 4 million laundered dollars in July 2002, she
gave them to her father, who used them the next day (July 26,
2002) to open certificate of deposit accounts in Panama in
the names of four shell companies: Kalveto S.A., Voria
Holding S.A., Budapest Corporation S.A., and Teremina S.A.
Flores Lovo showed his passport for all of these transactions
and his signature is on all of them.

10. (U) Aleman's oldest daughter, Maria Dolores, also flew
to Panama and opened several of the shell corporations and
bank accounts that were used to launder stolen Nicaraguan
government money, including one of the accounts of the FDN.
She was also one of the owners of Consultores Corporativos
and was an official legal representative of Oakwood Finance
S.A., another shell company. Maria Dolores showed her
passport and her signature appears on official documents
establishing all of these shell companies and their bank
accounts. Maria Dolores, name also appears on certificates
of deposit that were purchased by Byron Jerez in the United
States using stolen government funds.

11. (U) Another of Aleman's daughters, Maria Alejandra, is
known to have received funds directly from the FDN Panama
accounts. She also appeared personally, showed her passport,
and signed documents to open a Panamanian bank account for
Inversiones Quisa S.A. and was listed as an official legal
representative of that shell company. Byron Jerez also
purchased certificates of deposit in her name in the United

12. (U) The name of Aleman's adult son, Carlos Miguel,
appears on yet another certificate of deposit in the United
States that was purchased by Byron Jerez with stolen
government funds.

13. (SBU) Sources: Aleman's family members personally signed
documents for most of the transactions described above. Maria
Dolores, Maria Alejandra, Maria Fernanda, and Jose Antonio
Flores Lovo all personally appeared in Panama on multiple
occasions to establish shell companies and bank accounts for
money laundering purposes. They all showed their passports,
U.S. visas, and other identifying documents in order to open
the companies and accounts. Copies of the records with their
signatures and passport photos are in the possession of the
Panamanian, Nicaraguan and U.S. governments. The names of

Aleman and his children appear on the CDs in the U.S. and
their names appear in documents submitted by their lawyers in
U.S. courts seeking to unfreeze and repatriate the stolen
money to Nicaragua.

Convictions in Nicaragua and Stolen Money Seized in the
United States
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

14. (U) The cases listed above highlight only a small
fraction of the many corruption schemes that Arnoldo Aleman
and his family orchestrated during his presidency. Aleman and
his family have yet to face trial in some of the cases, but
several verdicts have already been handed down in Nicaragua
and the United States.

15. (U) In December 2003 a Nicaraguan judge found Arnoldo
Aleman and Byron Jerez guilty of money laundering, fraud,
embezzlement, misuse of public funds, and criminal conspiracy
for their actions in the "Huaca I" case, which involved the
theft of government money from ENITEL, the government
treasury, and the state social security fund. Aleman
received a twenty year criminal sentence in this case and his
conviction remains in effect.

16. (U) In October 2004, Aleman's lawyers in the United
States accepted the seizure of over 600,000 dollars from the
sale of a helicopter that Aleman had purchased in an attempt
to launder additional government funds that were stolen in
the "Huaca I" case. Aleman's lawyers had proclaimed his
innocence and tried to recover the seized funds, but
ultimately accepted defeat in the face of the overwhelming
documentation of the money laundering. The seized funds will
soon be returned to the Nicaraguan government to support its
ongoing fight against corruption.

17. (U) In June 2002 authorities in the United States seized
a condominium worth well over 2 million dollars that was
purchased by Byron Jerez with money stolen from the
Nicaraguan government in the "Huaca I" case. In the face of
overwhelming evidence, in December 2003 Jerez's lawyers
admitted defeat in their efforts to recover the condominium
or the profits from its sale. In December 2004, the United
States government returned to the Nicaraguan government the
money that was seized from the sale of the condominium. The
nearly 2.8 million dollars are to be used to support
continued anti-corruption efforts and to build two modern
secondary schools in Managua.

18. (SBU) Sources: The helicopter and condominium cases are
both matters of public record in U.S. courts in Oklahoma and
Florida, just as Aleman's 2003 conviction is a matter of
public record in Nicaragua.

Ongoing Investigations in Nicaragua, Panama, the United
States, and the Dominican Republic
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

19. (U) Aleman still has several corruption charges pending
in Nicaragua, including the "Huaca II" case that includes
most of the fraudulent Panamanian transactions described
above. However, Aleman is trying to negotiate with FSLN
leader Daniel Ortega, who controls the court system, to have
all remaining charges dismissed and his conviction erased.

20. (U) The government of Panama has frozen nearly ten
million dollars stolen by Aleman and Jerez and hidden in
Panamanian shell companies. Prosecutors in Panama have
issued a criminal indictment against Aleman and several of
his family members, including Maria Fernanda Flores de
Aleman, Maria Dolores Aleman, and Jose Antonio Flores Lovo
for their money laundering activities in that country.
Although the Aleman family and their lawyers have repeatedly
used legal trickery in Panama and Nicaragua to delay the
start of the criminal trial, the first hearing took place on
March 30, 2006.

21. (U) Approximately 700,000 dollars stolen from the
Nicaraguan government by Aleman and Jerez and invested in CDs
in Florida in the names of Arnoldo Aleman, Maria Dolores
Aleman, Maria Alejandra Aleman, Carlos Miguel Aleman and
other family members is presently frozen by the United States
government and is subject to a pending civil forfeiture
proceeding. Fearing the loss of the stolen money, the Aleman

family has repeatedly sought to delay resolution of this
case. The United States Department of Justice is also
studying a possible criminal money laundering case against
several members of the Aleman family.

22. (U) Reports that the Aleman family has hidden stolen
government funds in the Dominican Republic with the help of
business associates and family members in that country are
presently under investigation.

23. (SBU) Sources: The Panamanian details are contained in
the charges brought against Aleman and his family in that
country, details of the "Huaca II" case are in the hands of
both the Procuraduria and the Fiscalia (the latter of which
is trying to sabotage the case). Many of these documents are
the same ones described above that document the Panamanian
money laundering activities of Aleman and his family. The
Procuraduria has formally invoked regional anti-corruption
treaties (including the Inter-American Convention on Mutual
Assistance in Criminal Matters) to ask the government of the
Dominican Republic to begin investigating Aleman's activities
in that country. The Dominican investigation began in early
2006, and centers on money transferred to the D.R. from the
accounts of the &Budapest8 shell company set up in Panama
by Aleman. Jose Grullon Flores Lovo, the brother-in-law of
Aleman's wife, who lives in the D.R. facilitated the transfer
to that country of at least USD 140,000 in laundered funds
stolen from the GON.

How the Aleman Family Spends its Stolen Money
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

24. (U) While he was still president, Aleman and his entire
extended family spent taxpayer money flying all over the
world on "official" trips to such places as Miami, Rome and
Stockholm. These trips were really family vacations, as the
family would often use government credit cards to spend tens
of thousands of dollars in a single afternoon on jewelry,
clothing and other personal purchases at shopping malls.
While most Nicaraguans were recovering from the devastating
effects of Hurricane Mitch in the spring of 1999, Aleman was
hauling his entire extended family to Sweden for a hurricane
reconstruction meeting so that they could enjoy a vacation
and go shopping at government expense. On this and other
trips, the Aleman family ran up a combined total of nearly
two million dollars in personal expenses on government credit
cards, and had Central Bank President Noel Ramirez write
checks to make the Nicaraguan people pay for the Aleman
family's private shopping and travels. Documentation on all
of this spending is in the hands of the Nicaraguan and United
States governments.

25. (U) When Aleman married Maria Fernanda in 1999, he threw
an engagement party at the exclusive Biltmore hotel in Miami,
flying his entire family and hundreds of other Nicaraguans to
the United States and paying for hundreds of thousands of
dollars in hotel expenses. This extravagant affair was
followed by a honeymoon around the world that included stops
in Egypt and India. Since Aleman left office in 2002, his
family has continued to live the good life on its stolen
government money, as evidenced by the study of Carlos Miguel
at exclusive schools in the United States and Spain or the
extravagant high society party thrown at the Hotel Princess
by Maria Fernanda in 2004 when her second daughter with
Aleman was born.

26. (SBU) Sources: Most of these examples of the extravagant
lifestyle of the Aleman clan were widely reported by the
Nicaraguan media at the time that they occurred. The Aleman
family has never made any effort to disguise its massive
spending. Quite the contrary; the family has always wanted
everyone to see it living the good life and recognize its
financial and political power. The family's misuse of
government credit cards for personal spending, and of the
role of Noel Ramirez in using government funds to pay the
card bills, is thoroughly documented in Nicaraguan Central
Bank records.

The Impact of the Aleman Clan's Thievery on Nicaragua
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

27. (U) In addition to robbing the Nicaraguan people of a
hundred million dollars that could have otherwise have been
used to do everything from buQding roads and infrastructure

to increasing salaries of public sector workers, the vast
corruption of Arnoldo Aleman and his family damaged Nicaragua
in many other ways. For starters, Aleman's thievery has
given Nicaragua a reputation for endemic corruption and
driven away potential investors who would otherwise have
brought jobs and economic development to the country.

28. (U) At the same time, Aleman's determination to use his
stolen money to retain political power and protect himself
from punishment for his crimes has led him to enter into a
"pact" with Daniel Ortega that has allowed the two caudillos
to divide up, politicize, and corrupt almost all the
institutions of the Nicaraguan state, including the National
Assembly, the judiciary, the Supreme Electoral Council (CSE),
and the offices of the Controller General and National
Prosecutor (Fiscalia). Aleman's wanton disregard for the
Nicaraguan people and his efforts to run Nicaragua as a
feudal family state have severely damaged all of the
country's democratic institutions and endangered its
political stability and future economic development.

29. (SBU) Sources: One specific impact of Aleman's thievery
on Nicaragua is seen in the annual Corruption Perceptions
Index produced by Transparency International. Nicaragua's
ratings in this index declined throughout Aleman's presidency
and have never really recovered. From a high of 3.1 (out of
10) in 1998, Nicaragua's rating declined to 2.4 by the time
Aleman left office. Although the country's reputation has
improved slightly because of the anti-corruption efforts of
President Bolanos, the fact that Aleman (and Ortega) continue
to control most of the institutions of the state has
continued to do severe harm to Nicaragua's reputation and
ability to attract international investment. In the most
recent ratings, in 2005, Nicaragua received a lowly 2.6 (out
of 10) for a rating of 107th out of 159 countries surveyed.
All of these details and more are available on Transparency
International's website (www.transparency.org). This is, of
course, merely one example of the damage Aleman did (and
continues to do) to Nicaragua's reputation and economic
growth potential.

30. (SBU) Sources continued: Aleman's various "pact"
negotiations with Ortega and his stocking of government
institutions with corrupt cronies are all a matter of public
record, and account directly for the sorry state of the
Fiscalia, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Electoral Council,
the National Assembly, and the Contraloria to this day.
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