Honduras claims Zelaya stole millions before being deposed

posted at 8:47 am on July 22, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The controversy over deposed President Manuel Zelaya took a bizarre turn overnight, at least here in the US.  The Washington Times viewed security tapes from the Central Bank of Honduras showing officials from Zelaya’s staff withdrawing almost $3 million, which got driven to the house of Zelaya’s chief of staff.  Did Zelaya intend the money to fund his illegal referendum to keep himself in office past the constitutional term limits — or did he have something more personal in mind?

Honduran officials are investigating allegations that President Manuel Zelaya and his chief of staff stole millions of dollars from the central bank before the military ousted Mr. Zelaya last month, according to a senior Honduran official, government documents and other evidence.

A security video from the Central Bank of Honduras made available to The Washington Times shows officials entering the bank June 24 and withdrawing large amounts of Honduran currency. The money was driven to the office of Mr. Zelaya’s chief of staff, Enrique Flores Lanza, according to depositions by three witnesses to Honduran prosecutors.

Government documents and testimony by the three say that about $2.2 million was taken. …

Two Honduran political opponents of Mr. Zelaya with knowledge of the transactions said Mr. Zelaya planned to use the money in connection with a referendum that if successful would have permitted him to serve a second term as president. The Honduran Supreme Court and Congress ruled the referendum illegal because the constitution limits presidents to a single term.

Of course, the interim government has plenty of incentive to find crimes to allege against Zelaya in order to undermine his claim to power, and to distance Zelaya from the US and other nations in the region.  Embezzlement on that scale, and with that carelessness, would cause anyone to reconsider their position. It’s easy to scoff at documents provided in the wake of Zelaya’s removal as propaganda.

However, Times reporter Sara Carter reviewed the actual security tapes as well as the bank records, and reports that they corroborate each other.  One would have to question why members of Zelaya’s staff would need to withdraw so much money in cash, rather than just write checks that would get normal accounting in the legitimate process.  Grabbing cash in any amount strongly suggests that the intent was neither legitimate nor legal, and the large amounts point to something significantly illegitimate.

Zelaya never got the chance to hold his illegal referendum, which leaves us with the question of where the money went.  The video shows the money walking out the door in the hands of Zelaya’s staff, and three witnesses say that Lanza had the cash last.  Assuming they have told the truth, someone has the money.  Is it Zelaya, his chief of staff, or somewhere else?


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Comments

You do know that literally robbing the central bank is the last act of desperate despots.

steveegg on July 22, 2009 at 8:50 AM

Wow. Hopefully this will get news coverage.

RD on July 22, 2009 at 8:52 AM

Now Barry will love him even more.

hanoverfist on July 22, 2009 at 8:54 AM

One more problem for Obooba not to meddle in.

Akzed on July 22, 2009 at 8:55 AM

Hum, almost like robbing the taxpayers to pay for socialist programs.

BobK on July 22, 2009 at 8:56 AM

Why am I not the least bit surprised? Oh, that’s right, I’ve lived a long time.

OldEnglish on July 22, 2009 at 8:57 AM

As Obama and SoS Clinton back Zelaya, I think these are properly question for them. Any journalists out there??

JiangxiDad on July 22, 2009 at 8:57 AM

he used it to pay off his buddy, the evil clown..i wouldn’t be surprised if some of that money made it’s way to oboobi, after all he is a supporter of zelaya..

SHARPTOOTH on July 22, 2009 at 8:57 AM

It’s like the rush to get health care pushed through. The idea is to get Zelaya reinstated before enough information gets out that would undermine the determination to have him return to power.

But it’s probably too late to reverse it, what with the USA, OAS, and EU putting tremendous diplomatic and economic pressure on Honduras. This is, to me, the most depressing story out of the news recently. To watch entire blocs of nations, most of which at least attempt to appear to support democracy, treat a legitimate democracy so shabbily is simply beyond the pale.

Tonus on July 22, 2009 at 8:57 AM

President Manuel Zelaya and his chief of staff stole millions of dollars

That seems normal to me. It’s looking out for number one the top priority for all Marxists?

darwin on July 22, 2009 at 8:58 AM

When asked for a comment, Rham Emanuel stated “He’s a piker!”

Beto Ochoa on July 22, 2009 at 8:58 AM

Wow. Hopefully this will get news coverage.

RD on July 22, 2009 at 8:52 AM

As of 5 minutes ago it wasn’t on CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews or even the Drudge Report. Although all of them have articles on Sarah Palin’s latest ethical lapse. At least they know what’s important.

Tommy_G on July 22, 2009 at 8:59 AM

Beto Ochoa on July 22, 2009 at 8:58 AM

It’s been far too long…

That is the Comment of the Day™

steveegg on July 22, 2009 at 8:59 AM

What a surprise, a Socialist thug who is also a thief. Who could have known?

johnsteele on July 22, 2009 at 9:00 AM

Yeah, but did he shovel a trillion dollars to his political donors, like Barry did?

It’d be worth it to me to give $10 million a month to Barry to leave the country and not return. It’s pocket lint compared to the taxpayer funds this corrupt incompetent has blown in only 6 months in office.

NoDonkey on July 22, 2009 at 9:01 AM

Communist thugs always steal from the public. Castro, Chavez, Kim Jong-Il, etc. The people get poor, while the thugs get richer.

jencab on July 22, 2009 at 9:01 AM

Seriously, for one to believe that it is a going-away present to themselves, one would have to believe that Zelaya and Lanza knew they were on the way out the door. That referendum scheduled for 4 days after the robbery was designed to short-circuit that possibility.

It is more likely that the reason why Lanza demanded cash was to buy votes. Handing out hecks with “For voting my way on the referendum” in the memo box is just too obvious.

steveegg on July 22, 2009 at 9:05 AM

a leftist is a leftist and theft id the endgame.

rob verdi on July 22, 2009 at 9:05 AM

is the endgame, pardon the typo.

rob verdi on July 22, 2009 at 9:05 AM

Who is Zelaya contributing to for the 2012 campaign?

Loxodonta on July 22, 2009 at 9:06 AM

“Handing out checks…”, even. Ed, you really need to get the techies to install a comment-editing plug-in.

steveegg on July 22, 2009 at 9:06 AM

This is nothing but a witchhunt.

The guy is simply stating the obvious “When you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

You’d think the guy was Sarah Palin or something.

Sapwolf on July 22, 2009 at 9:07 AM

Did Zelaya intend the money to fund his illegal referendum to keep himself in office past the constitutional term limits — or did he have something more personal in mind?

Remember Ed, to the Leftists, the personal is political.

Leftist leaders have to stay in power because they are the only ones who can remake their society.

rbj on July 22, 2009 at 9:08 AM

Don’t worry.

If the money he stole stayed in Honduras when he was ousted out of the country, I’m sure Obama will want to get him some TARP.

therightscoop on July 22, 2009 at 9:08 AM

Government documents and testimony by the three say that about $2.2 million was taken. …

Jeez, no wonder why Obama loves this guy… Wonder how much of that money when to Michelle Obama in order to buy Barry’s support?

Keemo on July 22, 2009 at 9:08 AM

So what’s the big deal? U.S. congressmen and women and U.S. senators do the same thing. They do in much more sophisticated ways but the end result is the same. Check out the net worth of you rep before their election and after they retire.

jarhead0311 on July 22, 2009 at 9:11 AM

Hey steveegg. Still blogging?

Communist thugs always steal from the public. Castro, Chavez, Kim Jong-Il, etc. The people get poor, while the thugs get richer.
jencab

This is called gangster government.
The Chicago rackets are now in charge of Pennsylvania Ave.
If an honest audit was done of the stimulus and the much
vaunted “Health Care” you will find shell business entities
recieving billions of dollars in total and much of that
money pumped back to the politicians that keep the system in place.
This is exactly what Obama did in Chicago.
Look at all the public monies for any project that Obama secured and you will see that in actuality little to no work was accomplished and Obama’s cronies pocketed the cash while donating back to him and giving his wife and friends phony jobs where the were paid salaries way beyond the norm.

Beto Ochoa on July 22, 2009 at 9:14 AM

Sounds like The Chicago Way.

JammieWearingFool on July 22, 2009 at 9:15 AM

I find this hard to believe.

/

Vashta.Nerada on July 22, 2009 at 9:17 AM

Ah, it all makes sense now. Zelaya owes Obama a couple thousand and won’t pay it back unless Obama can get him back into power.

;)

Daggett on July 22, 2009 at 9:23 AM

OT Bombshell: Obama to Dems: You’re going to destroy my presidency.

faraway on July 22, 2009 at 9:24 AM

Honduras’s Acorn funds, the early story.

trl on July 22, 2009 at 9:24 AM

The mistake here was Honduras getting the military to arrest Zelaya. The Left thinks anything done by any military to change government is bad (unless, of course, it installs some neo-socialist or communist regime). As this was a “military coup”, the media and Democrats are firmly against it because it’s “against Democracy”.

You have to remember we deal with really simple people. Democrats think you can spend your way out of debt, pass laws to regulate the temperature of the planet, and lend support to anti-Democratic regimes, thinking it will somehow support Democracy.

Nethicus on July 22, 2009 at 9:25 AM

Hey, whadya know, our president is robbing us too!

CP on July 22, 2009 at 9:29 AM

This happens a lot in Latin America. The president will steal millions, leave the country, come back a few years later, and then get RE-elected.

Mojave Mark on July 22, 2009 at 9:33 AM

This suggests to me that Zelaya knew his ouster was imminent, and he needed cash to survive in exile in the manner to which he and his staff are accustomed. This was too brazen to have been a hustle for cash to hand out in the referendum. They knew the referendum was not going to happen.

rockmom on July 22, 2009 at 9:37 AM

Zelaya can use the money to purchase the next Czar position:

Czar of the Americas (COA)

Sapwolf on July 22, 2009 at 9:37 AM

Hey if you know you could be removed from office, need to have funds to fund that coup to get BACK into office.

broker1 on July 22, 2009 at 9:40 AM

Hey steveegg. Still blogging?

Beto Ochoa on July 22, 2009 at 9:14 AM

Every time I think I’m out, they (specifically AP, relating to a promise I made to him just before he announced he was going on vacation to return to commenting if he took a vacation) drag me back in.

steveegg on July 22, 2009 at 9:49 AM

Why would “Mel” need the cash for a referendum vote that already had been counted before it even began? (the original ABC-Spain story in spanish)

AverageJoe on July 22, 2009 at 9:55 AM

If you’re helping to fund certain drug gangs south of the border, you also normally don’t do it with personal checks or even your government-issued American Express black card. So the withdrawal might not even be election-related, but a way to earn a very fast return on your investment, while at the same time helping to get people who have a lot of experience in both handling weapons and killing people on your side.

jon1979 on July 22, 2009 at 10:15 AM

If you’re helping to fund certain drug gangs south of the border, you also normally don’t do it with personal checks or even your government-issued American Express black card. So the withdrawal might not even be election-related, but a way to earn a very fast return on your investment, while at the same time helping to get people who have a lot of experience in both handling weapons and killing people on your side.

jon1979 on July 22, 2009 at 10:15 AM

There’s a chilling thought, and considering Zelaya thinks he can get back in by force, all-too-likely.

steveegg on July 22, 2009 at 10:21 AM

Congressman Rangle lives a fat cat lifestyle,. Why shouldn’t a “wise latina dictator” do the same?

seven on July 22, 2009 at 10:51 AM

Barry is calling looking for donations to his campaign.

lasertex on July 22, 2009 at 10:54 AM

Ambassador to Honduras position open for a small donation?

lasertex on July 22, 2009 at 10:55 AM

So, we can add aiding and abetting Zelaya’s flat-out robbery to the list of criminal acts by The Precedent, Shrillary and the rest of this traitorous administration. These scumbags in Washington had better end up in jail, soon.

progressoverpeace on July 22, 2009 at 11:19 AM

Best way to help Honduras is to destroy Obama.

elduende on July 22, 2009 at 11:29 AM

Embezzlement on that scale, and with that carelessness, would cause anyone to reconsider their position.

Maybe some, but not many people as far left as Obama will be dissuaded from supporting Zelaya over this. They love Marxist dictators like Castro and Chavez, it doesn’t matter how corrupt they are. It’s probably part of their appeal.

The only way that Obama/Hillary is going to back down from supporting Zelaya, IMO, is if the tide of the American electorate demands it, and considering that the media has so far been fairly successful at obfuscating this issue with their propaganda effort, that isn’t going to happen any time soon.

FloatingRock on July 22, 2009 at 12:28 PM

considering that the media has so far been fairly successful at obfuscating this issue with their propaganda effort

If not for that effort alone, the American people would be overwhelmingly behind Honduras.

Obama’s efforts in support of Zelaya’s coup would never have been possible without an overwhelmingly sympathetic left-wing media.

FloatingRock on July 22, 2009 at 12:31 PM

Average Joe at 9:55

Just what I was going to ask. That story REALLY needs to get on the national radar. Obama’s administration is pushing for Zelaya to get back in NOW. There should be a heavy, heavy pricetag for siding so blatantly and forcefully with somebody who not only breaks the Constitution and laws of his nation and defies his own Congress, Supreme Court, and AG, but also holds on his laptop the ability to pervert any election he chooses.

Zelaya is putting all his eggs in Obama’s basket, and Obama needs to be seen incubating the eggs of a lawless, communist crook transparently crapping on the law-abiding people of his own country. The egg never lies far from the hen, as they say…

justincase on July 22, 2009 at 12:37 PM

Someone’s probably looking for “Job satisfaction in Paraguay.”

Blacksmith on July 22, 2009 at 12:44 PM

Since when is $2.2 million “almost $3 million”? Not that I wouldn’t mind having only $2 million.

HotWeaver on July 22, 2009 at 1:17 PM

From day 1 the facts have never mattered in this case. Reflexive stupidity on the part of Obama and Clinton have created this entire mess. A mess that could still lead to massive blood letting.

patrick neid on July 22, 2009 at 1:32 PM

So glad Mr. Hope n Change himself is supporting the return of this Chavez wannabe. Barry continues to be on the wrong side of every major foreign policy issue.

redfoxbluestate on July 22, 2009 at 1:34 PM

Today, we are all Honduran.

AverageJoe on July 22, 2009 at 2:08 PM

Results First, then election Right out of the Queen of Hearts.

http://babalublog.com/2009/07/a-page-out-of-the-chavez-leftist-in-other-words-playbook/

Sorry . Link down.
But this one works

There was an unverified story that Zalyda was arrested with a woman not his wife and plastic bags with $1.2M US. Story stated a lempura value so that much was right.

Flying Jolly Roger

Caststeel on July 22, 2009 at 9:45 PM