Nicaraguan police accuse the Catholic Church of 'money laundering'

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The Nicaraguan police accused the Catholic Church of "laundering money" and ordered Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes to present documents showing the movements of the bank accounts of the dioceses that have intervened.

In a statement, the National Police reported that on Friday, May 19, they were informed "of illicit activity in the management of funds and resources in bank accounts that had belonged to people convicted of treason", whose names he did not specify.

"The Police began investigations that led to the discovery of hundreds of thousands of dollars hidden in bags located in facilities belonging to dioceses of the country," said that institution, which did not detail the amount or places.

Subsequently, he reported "the findings and investigations to the relevant authorities, who in turn began their own investigations, in accordance with the Law, to locate and cancel the illegal acts committed by persons linked to those dioceses."

Nicaraguan Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes. (Photo: EFE)

money laundering network

The results of the investigations confirmed the illegal theft of resources from bank accounts that had been ordered by law to freeze, as well as other illegal acts that are still being investigated as part of a money laundering network that has been discovered in dioceses of different departments" of Nicaragua, he added.

According to the Police, the Attorney General's Office, the Superintendency of Banks and the Financial Analysis Unit "have confirmed criminal movements with funds that, for the diocese, have entered the country irregularly and are being investigated and proceedings have been opened for all these reasons." crimes”.

He indicated that the Superintendency of Banks has requested the Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua and the head of the Nicaraguan Church, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, "the presentation of the documents that show the movements of the bank accounts of the dioceses, so that it is complied with in at all times with the laws of the country, avoiding the illegal acts that have been committed.

"The course of the investigations has been informed at all times and efforts are being made to clarify and report on everything pertinent to this anomalous situation that derives from the acts of treason, already tried, and committed by characters who, as politicians, have criminally violated all the legal, financial, and social systems of the State and the Nicaraguan people.”

The Police said that "the inquiries and investigations continue to achieve transparency in the operation and management of the finances of these institutions."

Arrest of the Nicaraguan bishop Rolando José Álvarez Lagos.

Three priests investigated

Previously, ecclesiastical sources advanced to EFE that the government of Daniel Ortega had frozen the bank accounts of at least three of the nine dioceses of the Church catholic.

The dioceses with their restricted bank accounts are those of Managua, presided over by Cardinal Brenes, and those of Matagalpa and Estelí, in charge of imprisoned bishop Rolando Álvarezwho last February was sentenced to more than 26 years in prison for crimes considered "treason."

Two days ago, the Police reported that they are investigating the priest Jaime Montesinos, parish priest of the diocese headed by Bishop Álvarez, for committing acts that undermine the independence, sovereignty and self-determination of the nation.

It is also investigating two other priests for "administrative matters" of the dissolved Cáritas Diocesana de Estelí, northern Nicaragua, which Álvarez also manages.

Relations between the Ortega government and the Catholic Church are now experiencing moments of great tension, marked by the expulsion and imprisonment of priests, the prohibition of religious activities, and the suspension of their diplomatic relations.

Pope Francis called the Sandinista government a "rude dictatorship" in an interview with infobae, pointing out "an imbalance of the person who leads" the Central American country. (EFE)

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