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

Sustainable Development Goals turn two: time to ensure justice for all

September 25, 2017 marks the two-year anniversary of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. Transparency International highlights the need for governments to set meaningful targets for success.

3 things we’ve learned since the Anti-Corruption Summit in London 2016

In May of last year, 43 governments & six international organisations met at the Anti-Corruption Summit and made 648 commitments. To keep up the pressure and make sure that these promises are kept, we looked at 453 commitments to find out what progress has been made - today Transparency International UK has launched a new report and a global pledge tracker with the results.

Azerbaijani Laundromat: grand corruption and how to buy influence

New investigation into a shady financial network that appears to have funnelled money from a US$2.9 billion Azeri slush fund to pay decision-makers and prominent individuals across Europe.

Elections in Angola: time to tackle corruption

The unofficial results of Angola’s elections are expected on 25 August. This is not cause for celebration unless it brings change. Corruption has for too long enriched a small ruling elite while more than two thirds of the country’s population lives in poverty.

15 ways young people can fight corruption

On International Youth Day, we celebrate youth around the globe and their power to help shape a fairer and more just world. For those who want to join us but don’t know where to start, here are 15 great ideas from our anti-corruption tool kit.

Azerbaijan: closing down civil society

Transparency Azerbaijan has announced that it had to close its two regional legal advice centres due to a restrictive government law blocking foreign donors from giving to civil society.

Six ways business can help deliver the Sustainable Development Goals

Our former chair outlines six ways in which businesses can help reach the SDGs.

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