MIAMI – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Dec. 26 the seizure of more than $700,000 in certificates of deposit (CDs) belonging to relatives of former Nicaraguan President Arnoldo Alemán, who is serving a 20-year sentence for corruption.
The seven CDs were purchased in Alemán’s name with “money stolen from the Nicaraguan government,” the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.
The money, which was deposited in Miami’s Terrabank, had been frozen by order of U.S. federal Judge Federico Moreno since March 2003 on suspicion it derived from illegal activities.
Moreno, who presided over a trial in 2006 to determine the origin of the $700,000, last week ordered that the CDs be seized after ruling that documentary proof “of the legitimacy of the funds was not presented” during the legal proceedings.
For his part, Alemán said Dec. 27 during a press conference at his ranch near Managua that he will appeal the judge’s ruling, claiming that the CDs were not purchased with money taken from the public coffers during his 1997-2002 administration.
Alemán, who contends that the money instead came from selling coffee and cattle that he inherited from his ancestors, said the deposits were made in 1996 by his late sister, Amelia Alemán, in Terrabank to provide a fund for the education of his children.