WikiLeaked U.S. cables roil the Dominican Government on corruption(Update 2)
DominicanToday.com - The WikiLeaks scandal has finally hit the fan in the Dominican Republic, as ex Tourism minister Felix (Felucho) Jiménez and Airports Department director Andres Vanderhorst figure among the officials that in cables sent to Washington the United States Embassy considers “audaciously corrupt.”

Last night Jimenez vowed to file suit against the ex- U.S ambassador Robert Fannin in courts of that nation, calling the former diplomat’s allegation that he has sought bribes from foreign investors to expedite the proceedings to install an ethanol plant in the country "a vile calumny."

"That is a lie of Mr. Fannin, who as an old man should be respectful of the truth," Jiménez said quoted by local news sources.

He said he has placed the case in the hands of lawyers and that he will also ask the American Embassy for an explanation, because has never been questioned about his U.S. visa. "Quite the contrary, the visa I have for 10 years, was issued to me after I had left the post," adding that the condition of ex- diplomat, "does not give Fannin the right to slander a serious man."

Vanderhorst also vowed to take legal action against the former U.S. Embassador.

Meanwhile the Foreign Relations Minister also revealed last night that U.S. Undersecretary for Hemispheric Affairs Arthur Valenzuela had contacted him to apologize to the Dominican Government for the leaked information, which he affirms don’t reflect Washington’s official point of view.

In a statement disclosed by Presidency’s Press Office, Morales said the U.S. official reiterated that for the comments derived from informal conversations don’t reflect his government’s official stance.

The Spanish newspaper El Pais yesterday published Wikileaks documents which names the two Dominican officials in alleged acts of corruption.

The leaked cables reportedly cite the specific case of the company Advent International, which acquired a contract to create Aerodom Dominicana Siglo XXI (AERODOM) in October 2008, to manage the country’s airports, accusing Vanderhorst of “harassing, threatening and even explicitly requesting a bribe from the company.

Comments from DominicanToday.com

Written by: Ricardolito, 18 Dec 2010 9:28 AM
From: Dominican Republic, Boca de Chavon
It was common knowledge that the irrigation system for la Estancia Golf Course was being held up at the ports allegedly because a Minister wanted part of the instillation contract......
 
Written by: Ricardolito, 18 Dec 2010 12:06 PM
From: Dominican Republic, Boca de Chavon
..I think that Felucho went too far with the la Estancia business and that the major stake holders there stood him up and went to LF. The course was delayed for months because of the attempted bribery .
 
 

Dominican Watchdog Note:

Another tourist minister Victor Cabral was in house arrest for stealing USD 160,000,000 (MILLION) from Canadian investors!!
 

More about Wikileads and the Dominican Republic:

In statements given to DigitalRD.Com Journal, after learning of the allegations in the cables of Wikileaks released Friday by the newspaper El Pais, in Madrid, the Dominican Alliance Against Corruption pointed out that this is a recurring practice of officials of different governments that has touched the weak Dominican democracy, which is produced in the three branches of the Dominican state, executive, legislative and judicial, which also affects Dominican investors.

En los dos cables difundidos se describe como funcionarios del Gobierno dominicano solicitaron sobornos a empresas de Estados Unidos para obtener permisos de instalación de sus empresas, mencionando los nombres del ex secretario de Turismo Felix Jimenez y Andrés Van Der Horts. In the two cables is described as widespread Dominican Government officials sought bribes from U.S. businesses to obtain permits for installation of their companies, mentioning the names of former Tourism Minister Felix Jimenez and Andres Van Der Horst.

Julio Cesad de la Rosa Tiburcio, coordinador de Adocco afimo que cuando un inversionista atraído por las facilidades que dicen recibirán para invertir llega a la Republica Dominicana, comienza a recibir todo tipo de trabas para que tenga que soltar dinero. July Cease Tiburcio de la Rosa, coordinator of Affirmative Adocco that when an investor attracted by the facilities that they say will come to invest in the Dominican Republic, had been receiving all kinds of interference have to drop money.

Sostuvo que algunos no obtemperan al chantaje y que otros si y recuerda el caso el caso de los empresarios japoneses que en el último periodo de Balaguer le denunciaron a este que para instalar una generadora de electricidad Mitsubishi tendría que dar un millón de dólares por debajo de la mesa, abandonado esos inversionistas el proyecto”. He argued that some non obtemperan blackmail and others if and recalls the case for Japanese businessmen in the last period of Balaguer denounced him this that to install an electricity generating Mitsubishi would have to give one million dollars below the table, these investors abandoned the project. " Recordó el vocero de Adocco. Adocco spokesman recalled.

De la Rosa Tiburcio, afirmo que la situación es tan grave que ya hay inversionistas que vienen preparados con el maletín de la inversión y con el maletín de la extorción, produciendo una mala imagen para los verdaderos inversionistas, porque podrían colarse aventureros que pretenden blanquera capitales procedentes del narcotráfico y de la corrupción administrativa de funcionarios públicos. Tiburcio De la Rosa, stated that the situation is so serious that there are already investors who come prepared with the investment case and the case of extortion, causing a bad image for true investors, because they could sneak adventurers seeking capital blanquera from drug trafficking and government corruption of public officials.

Como muestra de sus afirmaciones, el representante de la organización de la sociedad civil señaló la denuncia recibida por esa institución de parte de inversionistas dominicanos y coreanos de las trabas que le han puesto en el Banco Nacional de Fomento de la Vivienda y la Producción BNV. As proof of his allegations, the representative of civil society organization said the complaint received by the institution on behalf of Dominican and Korean investors barriers that have put him in the National Bank for Housing Development and Production BNV.

Dijo que los inversionistas buscan establecer una planta de ensamble de vehículos de la marca Hyundai, en la provincia de Dajabon, y que no obstante haber sido aprobado un préstamo con los terrenos en garantía por el Consejo de Directores del BNV, esa entidad bancaria y grabado el titulo de los mismos, no se produce el desembolso, "para citar un ejemplo de las quejas que día a día recibimos, las que también son canalizadas vía su embajada, provocando esa práctica daño al clima de inversión de la Republica Dominicana colocándola en desventajas frente a otras naciones del área donde si se respetan las reglas". He said that investors looking to establish an assembly plant of Hyundai brand vehicles in the province of Dajabon, and despite having been approved a loan with land as collateral by the Board of Directors of the BNV, the bank and recorded the title of the same, there is no disbursement, "to quote an example of the complaints that we receive daily, which are also mediated via its embassy, causing damage that practice the investment climate of the Dominican Republic placed at a disadvantage against other nations in the area where the rules are respected. "

“Cuando los gobiernos de países como España, Francia solicitan al gobierno dominicano garantía jurídica para las inversiones de sus conciudadanos, lo hacen por el conocimiento que toman de los chantajes a que son sometidos por parte de funcionarios que no siempre provienen del sector o área de la inversión a desarrollar, motivando a que esos países desarrollen programas a través de donaciones y préstamos tendente a organizar a las instituciones que deben velar por la transparencia y control, como se verifica en los grandes aportes que ha hecho la Agencia de Cooperación Española para el mejoramiento del sector justicia”. "When governments of countries like Spain, France, the Dominican government request legal guarantee for the investments of their citizens, they do it by taking the knowledge they are subjected to extortion by officials who do not always come from the sector or area investment to developing, encouraging these countries to develop programs through grants and loans aimed at organizing the institutions that should ensure transparency and control, as verified in the great contributions she has made the Spanish Cooperation Agency for improving the justice sector. "

Reiteramos que las denuncias hechas por la embajada estadounidense en el país, la que obedece a un ejercicio de la diplomacia de representar a sus nacionales y defenderlo de las diabluras de los administradores del país donde se encuentren se corresponden con las denuncias de corrupción que formulamos periódicamente, las que necesariamente tendrán que seguir fluyendo de las tantas que hay correspondientes a los últimos gobiernos dominicanos. We reiterate that the allegations made by the U.S. embassy in the country, which follows a year of diplomacy to represent and defend its nationals from the mischief of the administrators of the country where they are correspond with the allegations of corruption that we made periodically , which necessarily have to continue to flow from the many that are for the last Dominican governments.

Source: Original article in Spanish

 

Update 2, December 22 / Yahoo news

Corruption "rampant" in Dominican Republic - leaked cable

SANTO DOMINGO (Reuters) - The publication by WikiLeaks of U.S. diplomatic cables reporting alleged "rampant" business corruption in the Dominican Republic has prompted a State Department apology and denials from Dominican officials.

A 2008 cable from U.S. Ambassador to Santo Domingo Robert Fannin cited U.S. investors' testimony that then Tourism Minister Felix Jimenez attempted in 2007 to solicit a $10 million bribe from American company Forbes Energy to enable it to build an ethanol plant in the north of the country.

In a separate 2009 cable, the embassy cited global investment firm Advent International as saying it became so disillusioned with harassment from airport department director Andres Van Der Horst, who also sought a bribe, that it would not proceed with further investments in Dominican Republic.

Both cables criticized the business climate in the Caribbean nation ruled by President Leonel Fernandez, which ranks 101 out of 178 countries listed in Transparency International's 2010 corruption perceptions index.

"If Dominican government officials wish to attract and retain foreign investors, they cannot require these investors to participate in the rampant corruption of ... Dominican-style business," the classified embassy cable said.

"It is the local business climate that needs to reform, not the foreign investors," it said.

Jimenez and Van Der Horst denied the allegations and threatened Monday to sue Fannin and Spain's El Pais newspaper which first reported on the leaked cables Friday.

The publication of the diplomatic messages is the latest example of the ability of WikiLeaks, founded by Australian Julian Assange, to cause international embarrassment.

In line with its general policy on the WikiLeaks disclosures, the State Department told the Dominican Republic government the cables do not represent definitive U.S. policy.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Arturo Valenzuela, phoned Dominican Foreign Minister Morales Troncoso Saturday to apologise for the leaks, said Rafael Nunez, a spokesman for Fernandez.

But the cables merely confirm perceptions on corruption in the country, said Heather Berkman, analyst of Central America and the Caribbean for the Eurasia Group consulting firm.

"I don't think this (the publication) will have a far reaching impact because it just confirms what everybody knows. But this type of corruption has already hurt the country's investment," Berkman said in an interview Tuesday.

Go back | Date: 22 Dec 2010
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