HomeNewsBriefBolivia President's Ex-Girlfriend Accused of Leading Mafia
BRIEF

Bolivia President's Ex-Girlfriend Accused of Leading Mafia

BOLIVIA / 16 MAY 2016 BY SAM TABORY EN

Government officials in Bolivia have accused the former mistress of President Evo Morales of corruption, extortion and racketeering, as Bolivia becomes the latest country to see cracks in the impunity enjoyed by Latin American elites.

Minister for the Presidency Juan Ramón Quintana presented evidence in a May 13 press conference against a corruption racket involving Gabriela Zapata Montaño, La Razón reported.

Quintana also denounced Cristina Choque, the former director of the Social Unit (Unidad de Gestión Social) within the Office of the Presidency, for having led the operation with Zapata. Ricardo Alegría Sequeiros, a former member of the Bolivian Senate, has also been implicated in the scheme, which is being described as a "state mafia."

While he did not provide much detail on how the network functioned, Quintana said that he will be turning over the evidence that his office has uncovered to prosecutors in the Public Ministry. 

Zapata's judicial problems began on February 26 when she was arrested  on suspicion of illegal enrichment, influence trafficking, and money laundering.

Zapata is a former commercial manager for the international firm China CAMC, which has received some $500 million in state contracts in recent years. She was reportedly in a relationship with Morales between 2005 and 2007 and the pair had a child together. Their relationship only became public in early 2016.

InSight Crime Analysis

With government ministers now adding to the evidence against Zapata, it appears her case is set to become the latest corruption scandal to reach political elites in Latin America.

The biggest of these scandals was seen in Guatemala, where the president and vice president were ousted last year and are currently awaiting trial on charges they were operating a customs fraud ring. The current first lady of Peru Nadine Heredia has also been dogged by corruption allegations, while the evolving "Ruta K" public works corruption scandal in Argentina threatens to tarnish the legacy of deceased former President Néstor Kirchner as well as the reputation of his wife and successor as president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Elites and Organized Crime

This raft of investigations reaching the highest offices of political power suggest the region's corrupt elites may not be as secure as they have been in the past. However, corruption in Latin America is deeply rooted and there remains far to go if the region is to truly break free of its grip.

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

ELITES AND CRIME / 10 AUG 2018

In our inaugural podcast, we look at Guatemala's putrid campaign finance system through the story of Obdulio Solórzano, a political fixer…

ELITES AND CRIME / 16 FEB 2018

The head of an international anti-corruption body in Honduras has resigned in protest of what he described as insufficient support…

BRAZIL / 21 JUL 2017

Brazil's chief prosecutor highlighted the importance of international cooperation in ongoing probes of the biggest corruption cases in the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…