Cardinal of Nicaragua confirmed the blocking of bank accounts for alleged corruption

Cardinal of Nicaragua confirmed the blocking of bank accounts for alleged corruption

The government of Daniel Ortega blocked bank accounts of several churches in Nicaragua after accusing them of alleged money laundering

Text: RFI / AFP

The Cardinal of Nicaragua, Leopoldo Brenes, confirmed this Sunday to AFP the blocking of parish accounts in the Archdiocese of Managua, which he directs, in the framework of an investigation of Catholic dioceses for money laundering.

“They called me, they told me about this situation, but especially about the blocking of parish accounts,” said Archbishop Brenes.

«I can answer for my parishes: we had our accounts and there are practically all the collections, the offerings they give and at any time that we are asked for information, we will give it. But it’s the only information I have,” he added.

The police announced on Saturday an investigation in Catholic dioceses for money laundering with an alleged illegal handling of “bank account funds and resources” of convicted opponents.

The investigations “led to the discovery of hundreds of thousands of dollars, hidden in bags located in facilities belonging to dioceses in the country,” according to the police.

*Read also: Government of Nicaragua closes university attached to the Archdiocese of Managua

Regarding the blocked accounts, Brenes affirmed that there are priests concerned because the government of President Daniel Ortega deposits subsidy funds for parochial schools in them and the blockade generates delays in payments to teachers.

However, he clarified that “all the parishes are working because our work” is “evangelization.” “We move on,” she stated.

The police said that they were informed on May 19 of the “illegal activity in the management of funds and resources in bank accounts that had belonged to people convicted of treason against the Fatherland.”

The entity stated that the investigations are “part of a money laundering network that has been discovered in dioceses of different departments.”

According to the police, the Attorney General’s Office, the Superintendency of Banks and the Financial Analysis Unit confirmed “the criminal movements with funds that, for the diocese, have entered the country irregularly.”

*Read also: Another branch of Cáritas in Nicaragua ceases its activities due to decreased funds

Nicaragua tightened its laws and controls over opponents after the 2018 protests against the Ortega government, in power since 2007 and reelected successively in elections disputed by the opposition.

International organizations have denounced the Ortega government for its measures against opponents, including expatriation, stripping leaders of their nationality, preventing critics from entering, and outlawing thousands of private and religious organizations.

The United States and the European Union maintain sanctions against the Nicaraguan government.

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