The hearing of former minister Arturo Murillo begins in the USA

Around 10.15 a.m. (Bolivian time), the hearing of former government minister Arturo Murillo began in the US, charged with bribery and money laundering in the event of purchase with a surcharge of tear gas during his tenure.

The former Prime Minister of Jeanine Áñez’s government has been in custody in Miami since May last year. At a final hearing on Aug. 8, it was revealed that he had reached a preliminary agreement to pay a $ 250,000 bond. However, the ex-authority has to prove the legality of the money in order to be released from custody and therefore remains locked up.

Regarding the same case, it is worth recalling that the Bolivian Attorney General reported on September 28 that four people who had involved Murillo pleaded guilty in the United States.

According to the information, the defendant Luis Berckman accepted the charge of conspiracy to commit the crime of money laundering and bribery of foreign public officials, whose expected sentence is between three and ten years.

It was also mentioned that Sergio Rodrigo Méndez Mendizábal was guilty of the crime of conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering for bribery of foreign public officials, whose expected sentence is between three and ten years.

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“Bryan Berckman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud, with a minimum sentence of one year and a maximum of five years,” added lawyer Wilfredo Chavez.

He also stated that Philip Lichtenfeld accepted the crime of conspiracy to commit fraud, which is expected to be sentenced to between one and five years in prison.

He stated that the statements were recorded at a hearing where the defendants told the judge in the case that they were acting voluntarily without any nullity.

“It needs to be made clear that they haven’t made an arrangement with the (United States) prosecutor to get a benefit, d the prosecutor.

The case

The United States Department of Homeland Security filed a lawsuit against former Secretary Arturo Murillo on suspicion of being part of a conspiracy to obtain bribes and money laundering in the country.

The lawsuit is based on the results of a 17-month investigation that took place between November 2019 and April this year that found that $ 1.2 million had been raised in cash or through electronic transfers in the United States and Bolivia.

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This amount corresponds to 50% of the surcharge the country could pay for a shipment of tear gas and non-lethal weapons. The bribe was “paid” by the intermediate company Bravo Tactical Solutions (BTS), which collected $ 5.6 million for these ammunition from the Bolivian state after it had been purchased from a company in Brazil for only $ 3.3 million.

The Department of Homeland Security also sued the broker’s owners, US residents Luis Berkman and Bryan Berkman, who were released after bailing them out.

Also involved is Philip Lichtenfeld, the North American businessman of Argentinian origin who was hired as a “liaison man” for this operation and is imprisoned in Miami. Murillo and his friend Sergio Rodrigo Méndez, who was his chief of staff during his temporary takeover, are also arrested there.

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