Asset Recovery Watch

ARW-19
Arnoldo Aleman
Nicaragua
President (1997-2002)
United States
Undertaking Recovery Effort, Location of Recovery Effort, Asset Location / Alleged Asset Location
2002
2008
Art.17, Art.23
Yes
Non-Conviction Based Confiscation
Unknown
U.S.: The establishment by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the first Politically Exposed Persons (PEPS) Task Force located in Miami, Florida. The PEPS Task Force was established in conjunction with ICE's international division, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the U.S. Department of State. The Task Force's goal is to identify, locate, and seize assets of corrupt politically exposed persons involved in the theft of embezzled government funds. An example that highlights the success of this Task Force is the conviction in Nicaragua of the former Nicaraguan President Arnoldo Aleman. ICE investigators worked with their Nicaraguan counterparts to discover and seize assets located in the United States belonging to Mr. Aleman valued in excess of $5 million dollars. Cooperation by U.S. and Nicaragua. (Source: Statement of Marcy M. Forman, Deputy Assistant Director, Financial Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security, before House Government Reform Committee Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, "Terrorist Financing and Money Laundering Investigations: Who Investigates and How Effective Are They?," May 11, 2004.
Completed
Unknown
Unknown

According to the U.S. Government website, America.gov, "In 2004, U.S. authorities forfeited and transferred approximately $2.7 million of the former president's assets to the government of Nicaragua." A 2005 U.S. Department of State report added that the funds were to be used for educational programs, with $100,000 going to support anti-corruption efforts of Nicaraguan Prosecutor General's Office. (Source: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, March 2005, accessed at http://www.state.gov/p/inl/rls/nrcrpt/2005/vol2/html/42382.htm). Mr. Aleman had used fradulent shell companies and investment accounts to conceal his illicit proceeds. Assets identified and seized by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Miami Foreign Corrupt Investigations Group included seven certificates of deposit valued at $700,000, proceeds of the sale of a helicopter worth $671,000, a cabana at the Key Biscayne Ocean Club valued at $300,000, an investment account in Coral Gables, Fla., valued at $204,099, and a $150,000 deposit for the purchase of a Key Biscayne, Fla., condominium. (Please note that according to the May 11, 2004 testimony of Ms. Marcy M. Forman, Deputy Assistant Director, Financial Investigations Division of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: "ICE investigators worked with their Nicaraguan counterparts to discover and seize assets located in the United States belonging to Aleman valued in excess of $5 million dollars." Testimony before the House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources.)

According to the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Jurist Legal Research and News, in January 2009, the Nicaraguan Supreme Court overturned Mr. Aleman's 2003 conviction on money laundering and embezzlement charges. (Source: Andrew Gilmore, "Nicaragua high court overturns corruption conviction of ex-president," Jurist Legal Research and News, January 19, 2009, accessed at http://jurist.org/paperchase/2009/01/nicaragua-high-court-overturns.php.)

Unknown
Prosecutor General's Office, Nicaragua
Supreme Court
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Politically Exposed Persons Task Force
U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida