Nicaragua accuses prominent journalist of money laundering as crackdown escalates

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FILE PHOTO: Journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, critic of President Daniel Ortega’s government, listens to a reporter’s question during a press conference in Managua, Nicaragua, December 13, 2019. REUTERS / Oswaldo Rivas reuters_tickers

This content was published on August 25, 2021 – 06:37

(Reuters) – Nicaragua’s attorney general’s office on Tuesday accused prominent journalist Carlos Chamorro, a fierce critic of President Daniel Ortega’s government, of money laundering.

Reuters could not immediately contact Chamorro. He fled to neighboring Costa Rica in June due to political persecution at his home after his siblings, opposition leader and journalist Cristiana Chamorro and politician Pedro Joaquin Chamorro were arrested by police.

Ortega, a former Marxist guerrilla and former Cold War antagonist in the United States, faces an election slated for November, when he seeks a fourth consecutive term in office.

Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, have drawn widespread criticism from foreign governments after the recent arrests of several opponents, including some presidential candidates.

Carlos Chamorro “has been charged with money laundering, property and asset laundering, embezzlement and retention, and mismanagement,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement.

New money laundering charges have also been brought against Cristiana Chamorro and seven employees of the now defunct Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation, which works on issues of access to public information and transparency. He also accused Pedro Joaquin Chamorro of mistreatment, embezzlement and withholding of funds.

Nicaraguan police arrested La Prensa newspaper executive director Juan Holmann Chamorro on August 14, a day after raiding his offices and accusing the publication, which scathingly criticizes Ortega, of customs fraud and money laundering.

La Prensa is controlled by the Chamorro family, four of whom are currently in detention.

(Reporting by Ismael Lopez; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)


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