Corruption unmasked in Honduras

Corruption unmasked in Honduras



If you ever wondered why Transparency International considers “No Impunity” so important, recent indictments against the Rosenthal family in Honduras tell the story.

US officials charged three members of this powerful Honduran family with using the bank they owned, Banco Continental S.A., to launder money for drug dealers and stolen public funds. Stopping this kind of alleged activity is exactly what we mean when we say: “Unmask the Corrupt!”

We’ve had enough of corrupt politicians and dirty businesspeople abusing their power to enjoy luxury lifestyles funded by stolen public money. It’s time they face real consequences for their crimes. Join our campaign Unmask the Corrupt today and nominate who YOU think needs to be brought to justice. Once nominations have been collected we will begin voting on 9 December to choose the most corrupt.

The Rosenthal family, which owns a major Honduran industrial company and the country’s eighth largest bank, includes among its members a former vice president of Honduras, a former government minister, a bank president and an adviser to the country’s current President Juan Orlando Hernández.

Today one of the Rosenthal’s is in a US jail awaiting trial while the other two are in Honduras. Their bank was temporarily shut down by the Honduran government and the family’s businesses – which the Rosenthal’s say make up about five per cent of Honduras’ GDP – could also be impacted.

If the bank closes its doors forever a potential 11,000 jobs could be lost. If it turns out the bank enabled money laundering, it’s the owners of this bank who should shoulder the blame because they put these jobs at risk.

The message sent by these charges is clear: the corrupt may be powerful and have money and friends in high places, but ultimately they are not above the law.

According to the allegations in the indictment, the three conspired with others from 2004 through September 2015 to launder the proceeds of drug dealers. They also used their bank to hide money related to the bribery of public officials and the misappropriation, theft, or embezzlement of public funds.

I think banks are trying to fool everybody, they are under certain compliance or regulation standards and are saying that they meet these, be they anti-money laundering standards, know your customer, know your correspondent bank, or know your employee. However, every month we find ourselves facing a new financial scandal where there is a major bank moving corrupt money…”

– José Ugaz, Chair, Transparency International, in La Tribuna

Even though this family owns a group of businesses that includes media, financial services, real estate and construction firms, they now face the fate of more ordinary criminals, including court appearances, potential imprisonment, asset seizures and public humiliation.

We hope others around the world facing similar allegations – or who have chosen to follow a path of corruption – are paying attention. We want them to know that they are being watched by organisations like Transparency International.

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

How corruption affects climate change

Corruption and climate change are closely intertwined.

The secret is out: US$2.7 billion of São Paulo property linked to offshore companies

Our investigation into the real estate market in São Paulo shows how easy it is to hide more than US$2.7 billion worth of property behind shell companies.

Clean contracting at work: an example from Vilnius

The Neris Riverside development is part of a wider initiative to promote clean contracting across Europe – all told, we're monitoring 17 major public contracts worth nearly €1 billion.

A year after Panama Papers, is enough being done to stop illicit finance?

The Panama Papers revealed a global web of secret companies and stealthy crooks hiding stolen wealth, but one year on the corrupt still find it too easy to shift illegal assets and sustain criminally luxurious lifestyles.

Fighting land corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa: Widows tell their story

See a short film created by Ghanaian widows evicted from their land who decided to organise and challenge official indifference.

Corruption in Asia Pacific: what 20,000+ people told us

We spoke to nearly 22,000 people about their recent experiences with corruption in 16 countries and territories in the Asia Pacific region. See what they revealed.

FIFA must do more to win back trust of football fans

It’s been one year since Gianni Infantino was elected president of FIFA with promises to clean up football. How do football fans think he's doing?

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media

Would you like to know more?

Sign up to stay informed about corruption news and our work around the world