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Accountant says he saw Honduran president taking bribes

NEW YORK (AP) – An Honduran accountant testified on Tuesday that he had fled Honduras because he felt his life was in danger after seeing two meetings in which a drug dealer allegedly paid a bribe to President Juan Orlando Hernandez in 2013.

In both cases, the theme was “defending and getting drugs,” said Jose Sanchez, a pseudonym used for his defense. The accountant said that one was given $ 10,000 to Hernandez and the other $ 15,000.

The accountant said he was afraid to enter the office where he saw Hernandez meeting a drug dealer. “I saw the presidential candidate meeting with a drug dealer,” he said.

The alleged drug dealer was Geovanny Fuentes Ramírez, whose trial in New York is in its second week. Hernandez’s name has been mentioned several times during the trial, as US prosecutors continue to claim that his political rise was facilitated by drug traffickers.

The accountant testified that in addition to the two payments he witnessed, Hernandez flew to the company at various times to receive 250,000 lampira monthly payments of about $ 10,000. Payments were made for his campaign, the accountant said.

In the first meeting allegedly witnessed by the accountant, Hernandez received $ 15,000. It happened around a round table in Choloma, the owner of Fouad ar Arufe, Graneros Nacionales, north of San Pedro Sula.

The accountant counted the money while Hernandez looked at his cell phone. Hernandez preferred cash, the accountant said.

“We will be inviolable,” Hernandez said, recalling the accountant. It is supposed that Hernandez also said: “He was going to put drugs in his own nose, they were not even going to realize it.”

Hernandez won his first term as president in 2013 and took office in January 2014. Prior to that, he was the President of the Assembly of Honduras.

Hernandez has not been charged and has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Fuentes Ramirez was arrested in March 2020 in Florida. He is accused of drug trafficking and possession of weapons.

During the accountant’s testimony, at the request of the prosecutors, the telephone line was cut off, which listens to those who are out of court due to the epidemic. They were afraid that someone might recognize his voice.

The man was an accountant for the Graneros Nacionales rice business, which was used to launder drug proceeds.

Convicted drug trafficker Davis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga, the former leader of the Cachiros cartel, testified on Monday that Fuentes Ramirez told him in prison that he had photos and videos of Hernandez being present when Tegumaganpada was taken from Colombia to Tegucigana. Sula

Last week, Rivera Maradjaga testified that she paid Hernandez $ 250,000 to protect herself from arrest in 2012.

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