Catholic Churches Investigated for Alleged Money Laundering, Nicaraguan Authorities Freeze Bank Accounts

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The Catholic Churches in Nicaragua are being investigated by the police for possible involvement in money laundering. The bank accounts of the churches have been frozen by law enforcement officials who are said to be loyal to the administration of President Daniel Ortega.

Money Laundering Accusation on Catholic Church

Based on a report from Euro ES, it has been confirmed by the police, the Attorney General's Office, the Superintendency of Banks, and the Financial Analysis Unit that illegal activity has occurred with funds that have improperly entered the country on behalf of the diocese. In light of these factors, an investigation into these unlawful activities is being carried out, and legal action has been initiated. The authorities highlighted that the Superintendency of Banks had demanded the submission of the records that demonstrate the transactions of the financial assets of the churches so that it is dealt with in all instances with the nation's regulations, preventing the criminal acts that had been performed. The appeal was reportedly sent to both the Nicaraguan Episcopal Conference and Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, the prelate in charge of the Nicaraguan Church. 

According to Reuters, since Friday, May 19, policemen that are compassionate to the administration of President Daniel Ortega, who has been engaged in a heated feud with Nicaragua's bishops, have stated that they discovered "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in various church locations across the nation. Since May 19, police sympathetic to the administration of President Daniel Ortega, who has been engaged in a heated feud with Nicaragua's bishops, have noted that the money had been stolen from bank accounts that were supposed to be frozen because of a legal mandate. The bank accounts were associated with religious personalities convicted of treason and other offenses. 

As mentioned, the investigations conducted by the authorities revealed that the money had entered the nation illegally. It also uncovered other illegal actions, which are still being examined as part of an illicit money laundering network identified in the dioceses in several departments. This network was reportedly found across various regions of the country. On the other hand, Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes stated that people's bank accounts are located in this city because this is how they conduct their business. The cardinal asserted that they are analyzing the situation and will have a meeting to provide additional information later on. 

Also Read: Exiled Nicaraguan Bishop Responds to Recent Attacks, Insults of Daniel Ortega

'Church Are not Afraid Since Evil Promotes Fear'

In the aftermath of anti-government protests in 2018 that resulted in the deaths of approximately 360 people due to what human rights groups call police repression, Ortega's government has escalated its attacks on the Catholic Church, Malaysia Business Insight reported. The government accused the bishops acting as mediators between the administration and the demonstrators of conspiring to overthrow the government.

As per Rival Times, on Sunday, May 28, during a sermon at the Managua Cathedral, Brenes urged his parishioners, particularly young people, not to be afraid, as the devil promotes fear. Accordingly, the investigations being conducted by the police stem from incidents that were previously examined and prosecuted for treason against the nation's country is reportedly a reference to the controversial Law for the Defense of the Rights of the People to Independence, Sovereignty, and Self-Determination for Peace, which, since its enactment, has been utilized to lock up opponents of the Ortega government, reporters, and even candidates from opposing parties running for the presidency.

The Ortega dictatorship has taken several moves toward the Catholic Church in Nicaragua, the most recent of which is the announcement of investigations into allegations of money laundering. Just in the first few months of this year, the Ortega government has been responsible for the closing of a university in the Archdiocese of Managua, the incarceration of priests, the removal of nuns from the nation, and the severing of diplomatic relations with the Vatican. The most recent installment in this series is the announcement of investigations for possible instances of money laundering.

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