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  HOME | Central America

Former First Lady Arrested on Corruption Charges in Honduras

TEGUCIGALPA – Former first lady Rosa Elena Bonilla, the wife of Porfirio Lobo, who governed Honduras from 2010-2014, was arrested on Wednesday in Tegucigalpa on corruption charges, media reports said.

Bonilla was arrested by Technical Criminal Investigation Agency (ATIC) officers at her home in El Chimbo, a district in eastern Tegucigalpa, during an early morning raid coordinated by the Attorney General’s Office.

The 51-year-old Bonilla, who was arrested around 6:00 am, is accused of transferring about 12 million lempiras ($506,000) from a social program’s account into a personal bank account four days before the end of her husband’s term on Jan. 27, 2014.

On Feb. 22, the National Anti-Corruption Council (CAN) said it had evidence to file corruption charges against the former first lady, a former Energia utility manager, two members of Congress and a judge, among others.

On March 31, 2017, the CAN filed a criminal complaint with the AG’s office against Bonilla, alleging “misappropriation of public funds.”

An investigation found that on Jan. 22, 2014, Bonilla withdrew 12 million lempiras from “an account in the name of the Presidential Office/Office of the First Lady” and transferred the money to a personal account, the CAN said.

On Feb. 22, Bonilla’s lawyer rejected the charges and described the CAN’s allegations as a “circus,” adding that the former first lady was innocent.

A notorious drug trafficker who is cooperating with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has alleged that he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to Lobo before and after the 2009 presidential election.

Last year, The New York Times reported that suspected drug trafficker Devis Rivera, who has confessed to US authorities that he killed 78 people, alleged that he bribed Lobo.

The former president denied the allegations in a statement released on Oct. 9.

 

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