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Honduras: President Hernandez Denies Corruption, DrugTrafficking Accusations

The President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez, has denied allegations made by a US prosecutor that he helped smuggle tonnes of cocaine into the United States.

New York prosecutor Jacob Gutwillig said, during the trial of alleged Honduran drug trafficker Geovanny Fuentes in federal court on Tuesday, that Fuentes had paid Hernandez a $25,000 bribe.

Jacob Gutwillig, Prosecutor

Gutwillig claimed that accountant Jose Sanchez was present at meetings in 2013 and 2014 where Fuentes paid the money to Hernandez.

Sanchez was due to tell the New York jury about “the shock, the fear he felt when he saw the defendant sitting with the president,” said Gutwillig.

The witness worked at a rice-growing company through which Fuentes laundered money, the prosecutor alleged.

Sanchez will testify that Hernandez told Fuentes “they’d transport so much cocaine into the US they’d shove the drugs up the noses of the gringos”, said Gutwillig.

In reaction, President Hernandez, on Thursday, via Twitter said, “How can anyone believe false testimonies that I was dealing with drug traffickers?”

Hernandez, a lawyer who came to power in January 2014 and is in his second term, has styled himself as a champion in the fight against drugs and all forms of corrupt practices.

US prosecutors however, consider him a co-conspirator alongside Fuentes but have not charged him.

The Honduran government said on Wednesday night that photos shown during the trial, in which Fuentes’s family members are seen with Hernandez, were taken during a public event for the president’s birthday during the 2017 election campaign.

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