Juan Orlando Hernandez denies claims by the United States that he received a bribe of $ 25,000 from alleged drug trafficker Geovanny Fuentes.
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez has denied allegations by a US prosecutor that he helped smuggle tons of cocaine into the United States.
New York prosecutor Jacob Gutwillig said on Tuesday, during the trial of alleged Honduran drug trafficker Geovanny Fuentes in federal court, that Fuentes paid Hernandez a bribe of $ 25,000.
“How can anyone believe false testimony that I was dealing with drug dealers,” Hernandez wrote on Twitter Thursday.
Gutwillig claimed that accountant Jose Sanchez was present at meetings in 2013 and 2014 where Fuentes paid the money to Hernandez.
Sanchez was to speak to the New York jury about the “shock, the fear he felt upon seeing the accused sitting with the president,” Gutwillig said.
The witness worked in a rice company through which Fuentes laundered money, the prosecutor alleged.
Sanchez will testify that Hernandez told Fuentes “they would be transporting so much cocaine to the United States that they would stick the drugs in the noses of the gringos,” Gutwillig said.
Hernandez, a lawyer who came to power in January 2014 and is in his second term, has presented himself as a champion in the fight against drugs.
US prosecutors see him as a co-conspirator alongside Fuentes but have not charged him.
The Honduran government said on Wednesday evening that photos shown during the trial, in which members of Fuentes’ family are seen with Hernandez, were taken at a public event for the president’s birthday during the election campaign of 2017.
The president’s brother Tony Hernandez was convicted of large-scale drug trafficking during a trial in New York in 2019.
Prosecutors say he was the intermediary between accused trafficker Fuentes and the president.
President Hernandez has been linked to drug trafficking during his brother’s trial by Leonel Rivera, leader of a Honduran drug trafficking gang called Los Cachiros.
“It is a proven fact that Los Cachiros tried to strike a deal with the United States,” Hernandez tweeted.
“The false testimonies of drug traffickers are obvious lies.”
Rivera began testifying on Wednesday, telling the New York jury that he worked with Fuentes from 2011 to 2013 until they got into a fight and the alleged trafficker tried to kill him.
Rivera faces a life sentence and 30 years in prison, but hopes it will be reduced in exchange for her testimony.
He worked for two years with the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States before surrendering to the American authorities in 2015.
Rivera has been a cooperative witness for the US government in other major drug trafficking trials in New York, including that of President Hernandez’s brother.
During Tony Hernandez’s trial, Rivera said the president received millions of dollars in bribes from drug traffickers to protect cocaine shipments to the United States.