INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Advisory Opinion Request

Published: Wed 14 Oct 2009 09:07 PM
VZCZCXYZ0009
RR RUEHWEB
DE RUEHMU #1013 2872107
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 142107Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4660
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAGUA 001013
SIPDIS
DEPARTMENT FOR CA/VO/L/A AND WHA/CEN
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/13/2019
TAGS: CVIS EFIN KCRM NU
SUBJECT: ADVISORY OPINION REQUEST
REF: MANAGUA 625
Classified By: Ambassador Robert J. Callahan for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d
).
1. (SBU) Post requests Department concurrence in a finding
of INA Sec. 212(a)(2)(I) inadmissibility for Armando Jose
Garcia Campos (26-OCT-1950, NIC), and requests approval to
revoke subject's valid B1/B2 visa, on the basis that he is
inadmissible to the United States for engaging in money
laundering.
2. (C) As reported in Reftel, Garcia was terminated as
President of one of Nicaragua's largest microfinance
institutions (ACODEP--financed by numerous U.S. NGOs along
with OPIC funds) in 2008 by its board of directors after an
internal audit revealed that Garcia had embezzled thousands
of dollars during the previous few years. The ACODEP board
initially attempted to negotiate a graceful exit for Garcia,
but when they discovered additional evidence of more serious
embezzlement, negotiations broke down and Garcia was relieved
of his position.
3. (C) In response, in February 2009, Garcia exploited his
Nicaraguan political contacts to have himself "reinstated" as
president of ACODEP on dubious legal grounds for a period of
two months, during which he orchestrated the embezzlement of
between $3 and $5 million dollars, essentially liquidating
ACODEP's bank accounts and leading to large losses for its
U.S. investors. One scheme Garcia favored was to "employ"
outside contractors for ACODEP, subsequently pressuring them
to cash checks at one of Nicaragua's largest banks,
BANCENTRO, for exorbitant amounts of money, such as $250,000
for three weeks of work in "wages," which Garcia then
partially pocketed. Post has obtained credible documentary
evidence from ACODEP's current board--corroborated by U.S.
investors--which directly indicts Garcia.
4. (C) Beyond the well-documented embezzlement schemes,
Garcia has twice attempted to retake Managua's ACODEP
headquarters using armed security personnel, on February 27
and most recently on September 4. During the September 4
incident, Garcia held over 50 ACODEP employees and customers
hostage for over two hours. Garcia's son accompanied him
with a handgun and physically threatened ACODEP employees.
The September 4 incident was broadcast live on one of
Nicaragua's major television news channels. The Nicaraguan
National Police are currently investigating Garcia for
robbery, property theft and possible kidnapping. ACODEP's
U.S. investors regard Garcia as a dangerous, violent and
unpredictable individual out for revenge.
5. (SBU) Based on the available evidence of Garcia's direct
involvement in the embezzlement of $3-5 million, resulting in
substantial losses to U.S. investors, including the
USG-affiliated Overseas Private Investment Corporation
(OPIC), post requests that the Department find Armando Jose
Garcia Campos inadmissible to the United States under INA
Sec. 212(a)(2)(I) and authorize the revocation of his valid
B1/B2 visa under this statute.
CALLAHAN
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