San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

U.S. Extradites Suspect in Honduran Bank Fraud Case

TEGUCIGALPA (EFE) – The United States this week turned over to Honduran authorities a suspect in a bank fraud case, officials said.Caupolicán Zuñiga, who was being held in Miami, was handed over Saturday to special prosecutor Soraya Morales, who is in charge of probing corruption cases in this Central American nation.Morales traveled last week to the United States to coordinate the extradition of the suspect.Zuñiga was taken under heavy guard to a cell at the headquarters of the General Criminal Investigation Administration in Tegucigalpa, where he will await trial. Morales told reporters that Zuñiga faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted on the charges against him. Prosecutors allege that Zuñiga and other executives of BANHCRESER defrauded the bank’s customers of some $3.7 million.Zuñiga, who was arrested in Miami in May 2004 on an Interpol warrant, refused to comment on the charges against him on his return to Honduras.Several financial institutions went bankrupt in Honduras between 1998 and 2002 amid allegations of fraud by executives. Security Minister Oscar Álvarez said last week that seven of the approximately 24 fugitive executives being sought in connection with the bank failures have been captured, while the rest are still on the run.

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