HomeNewsBriefMoney Laundering Links Honduras, Panama and US
BRIEF

Money Laundering Links Honduras, Panama and US

ELITES AND CRIME / 27 JAN 2017 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

Two Honduran executives allegedly used a Panamanian business and a US bank to pay $2.5 million in bribes, suggesting that banks based in Panama and the United States may be involved in one of the biggest corruption cases in Honduras.

Óscar Laínez and Jorge Herrera, executives of Compañía de Servicios Múltiples S. de R.L. (Cosem), allegedly used a Panamanian firm called CA Technologies to make transfers of more than $2.5 million to a JP Morgan Chase bank account in the United States belonging to a company called CM Motors, according to an investigation by the National Fiscal Support Unit (Unidad Nacional de Apoyo Fiscal).

Mario Zelaya -- former director of the Honduran Social Security Institute (Instituto Hondureño de Seguridad Social - IHSS) who has been jailed and is facing charges in the IHSS case -- and his brother Carlos, are both partners of CM Motors. 

According to La Prensa, the Cosem executives paid these bribes in 2010 in order to "expedite" a $19.7 million contract with the IHSS to digitalize their registration system. The bribes were paid to then-Director Mario Zelaya, then-Vice Minister of Health Javier Pastor, and then-Deputy Secretary of Jobs Carlos Montes. 

Cosem executives Laínez and Herrera are both key witnesses in the money laundering and bribery case against Zelaya, Pastor and Montes. 

Raul Pineda Alvarado, a lawyer and expert in criminal law who spoke to La Prensa, told the media outlet the United States could take legal action against Laínez or Herrera, or place sanctions on JP Morgan. 

InSight Crime Analysis 

The announcement of this investigation comes at an awkward time for Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, who is readying his bid for re-election. In 2015, the Honduran Supreme Court controversially overturned a constitutional ban on re-election, allowing Hernández to run for another term as president.

While Hernández was not in office when Mario Zelaya and several of his colleagues from the IHSS were arrested and charged, the case impacts his National Party and could impact his reelection bid.

SEE ALSO: Honduras News and Profiles 

Hernández admitted in 2015 that companies linked to corruption cases in the IHSS had contributed nearly $150,000 to his presidential campaign in 2013. As Honduran authorities investigated corruption within IHSS, they discovered "the creation of over 10 ghost companies that allegedly delivered checks and wired monthly installments to the National Party's central committee."

As further revelations surface regarding corruption in the IHSS, details could emerge that may prove damaging to Hernández's re-election bid.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

PANAMA / 3 DEC 2012

A court's ruling that the United States cannot prosecute traffickers caught in other countries' territorial waters could hinder its maritime anti-narcotics…

BARRIO 18 / 7 FEB 2020

Prosecutors in El Salvador have charged high-ranking politicians with electoral fraud in connection to their controversial negotiations with gang leaders,…

ELITES AND CRIME / 23 JUL 2019

Prosecutors in Guatemala are investigating a multimillion-dollar graft scheme within the country’s Public Health Ministry, in just the latest example…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Dirty Money and Tren de Aragua

29 OCT 2021

InSight Crime was delighted to support investigative reporting in the Americas through a workshop with our friends at Connectas, a non-profit journalism initiative that facilitates collaboration…