San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Honduras

Honduras court orders house arrest for US-targeted tycoon Jaime Rosenthal

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – A court in Honduras Wednesday ordered house arrest for one of the country’s biggest tycoons over suspected tax evasion, adding to his legal woes after being targeted by the U.S. for laundering drug traffickers’ money.

Jaime Rosenthal, 79, had his liberty curtailed for suspected “tax fraud and falsifying public documents,” the Prosecutor’s Office said on its Twitter account.

A court spokeswoman told reporters the matter had to do with meat imports from Brazil allegedly falsely documented as U.S. meat to avoid duties.

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Rosenthal was not in court and received notification of the order in his home in Honduras’ second city, San Pedro Sula, where he is said to be in ill health, local media reported.

On Oct. 7, the U.S. Treasury Department announced it was targeting Rosenthal, his son Yani and his nephew Yankel “for their money laundering and drug trafficking activities.”

Yankel Rosenthal was arrested in Miami by U.S. authorities the day before the Treasury announcement. Yani has since given himself up to authorities in New York where he has been placed under house arrest.

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The U.S. has imposed an asset freeze on the men and barred U.S. companies from dealing with them, leading to the closure of a Honduras bank and a newspaper, both owned by the family. The Honduran government has expropriated around 50 of the family’s businesses and properties.

Jaime Rosenthal is an influential figure in Honduras. He was vice president of the country from 1986 to 1989, and his son Yani was a minister in the government from 2006 to 2009.

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