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Dominican police arrest 19 in high-profile corruption case Lalrp

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SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Authorities within the Dominican Republic have arrested 19 individuals in a sweeping corruption case that accuses a widely known former presidential candidate and three former officers of embezzling almost $350 million and unlawful marketing campaign financing.

The arrests are the most recent in a string of investigations that officers have launched prior to now two years as a part of a crackdown on rampant authorities corruption within the Caribbean nation.

Amongst these detained Saturday evening is Gonzalo Castillo, a former public works minister who received 37% of the vote when he ran as presidential candidate for the Dominican Liberation Social gathering within the 2020 common elections received by present President Luis Abinader.

Additionally arrested is a former treasury minister, Donald Guerrero; former comptroller common, Daniel Omar Caamaño; and former administrative minister to the presidency, José Ramón Peralta.

Prosecutors mentioned they’re accused of paying bribes, laundering belongings and illegally financing the earlier electoral marketing campaign on an “unprecedented” scale after embezzling $347 million of presidency funds.

The suspects have been charged after authorities launched 40 raids focusing on their properties and companies within the capital of Santo Domingo and past.

Lots of of Castillo supporters gathered Monday outdoors the Justice Palace to protest his arrest as they waved the celebration’s purple-and-yellow flag and tried to wreck the constructing earlier than police scattered the gang with tear fuel. In the meantime, officers with the Dominican Liberation Social gathering questioned the impartiality of prosecutors and accused them of solely investigating and arresting former authorities officers and never wanting into corruption allegations in opposition to Abinader’s present administratoin.

“It’s clear that behind these actions, there are markedly political and re-election pursuits,” mentioned Charlie Mariotti, the celebration’s secretary common.

Police on Saturday additionally arrested the previous director of the State Sugar Council, Luis Miguel Piccirilo; former director of the Nationwide Cadastre, Claudio Silva Peña; and the previous administrators of Casinos and Playing, Oscar Chalas Guerrero and Julián Omar Fernández.

Protection attorneys for the accused couldn’t be instantly reached for remark. The suspects have been anticipated to look in courtroom Monday.

Final 12 months, authorities arrested Jean Alain Rodríguez, the nation’s former legal professional common, and different suspects accused of diverting authorities funds in an unrelated case.

One in every of Abinader’s guarantees within the 2020 marketing campaign was to nominate an unbiased legal professional common to struggle corruption and impunity. He chosen Miriam Germán Brito, a former decide held in excessive regard.

Since then, numerous high-ranking authorities officers tied to former President Danilo Medina have been arrested, together with two of his siblings.