Some $20 million was laundered through Dominican banks to pay for the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, according to one of the Dominican Republic’s top money-laundering investigators.
Prominent lawyer Jose Manuel Patin Muñiz, who went to business school in Michigan and was a senior anti-money-laundering compliance officer at Citibank in the U.S., declared on Dominican television that Dominican banks may be sanctioned for facilitating the flow of money without flagging it.
“The [Dominican] banking superintendent knows that the money which passed through this country, which was $20 million to kill Haiti’s president, which was a terrorist act, it went through the Dominican banks,” Patin told journalist Ruben Puntier on his program Primera Entrega on Apr. 1. “But the banking superintendent has not stated categorically in a press conference that [the $20 million] went through our financial system and that we will find out what banks they were and these banks will be fined…”
Patin’s firm, JP & Associates, specializes in preventing and investigating money laundering and corporate fraud. He did not reveal how he learned of the alleged money laundering or who was involved.
Haitian lawyer Newton Saint-Juste has filed a complaint with the Dominican Attorney General, Dr. Miriam German Brito, demanding an investigation into the alleged money laundering.
“If this information is verified, it would be a flagrant violation of the Jun. 1, 2017 Law against the Laundering of Assets and the Financing of Terrorism (No. 155-17) of the Dominican Republic and the international conventions it has ratified on transnational crime,” Saint-Juste wrote in his Apr. 4 letter. “It is important that the Santo Domingo Public Prosecutor’s Office formally asks the Unit of Financial Analysis and the Superintendent of Banks to open an investigation in accordance with international conventions and Dominican laws” to determine “the persons involved in these acts of money laundering and… corruption.”
Haiti is now on its fourth Investigating Judge, Merlan Belabre, assigned to probe the grisly Jul. 7, 2021 assassination. Two of the previous judges appointed to the task resigned due to death threats, and the third was fired for extorting suspects for bribes in connection with the case.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry has been implicated in the crime, and the investigation appears to be at a standstill.
Meanwhile, in Miami, former Colombian soldier-turned-mercenary Mario Antonio Palacios Palacios, 43, one of the alleged triggermen in Moïse’s murder, pleaded not guilty on Apr. 4 to two counts of conspiracy to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States and providing material support resulting in death. Palacios was extradited from Panama to the U.S. on Jan. 3 and continues to be held in federal prison in Miami without bail. He faces life in prison if convicted.