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Honduras denies having hired a law firm in the United States before the trial of Tony Hernández

Tegucigalpa, Apr 1 (EFE) .- The Government of Honduras affirmed this Thursday that it hired the law firm Arnold & Porter, but did not do so before the trial that ended with life imprisonment for drug trafficking to Tony Hernández, brother of the Honduran president, Juan Orlando Hernández, but to issue a sovereign bond.

The Honduran institution said in a statement that the influential firm was hired by the government in 2019 with the aim of “providing legal services for the issuance of sovereign bonds in international capital markets.”

According to an investigation by The Washington Post newspaper and documents from the Department of Justice, the lobbyists tried to influence the prosecutors in the case, which ended with Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández sentenced to life in prison for drug trafficking.

According to the Washington Post, the firm that had lobbied during the process and that was mentioned without naming in the documents of the process against Tony Hernández would be the prestigious Washington law firm Arnold & Porter, whose partner is John B. Bellinger III, a former adviser State Department legal with George W. Bush or where current Attorney General Merrick Garland worked.

The Honduran Ministry of Finance insisted that Arnold & Porter was hired to “accompany and advise” the institution in the process of placing a sovereign bond in the international financial market.

“This firm was hired for its high knowledge and experience in the field of international capital markets and for its long history accompanying the Government of Honduras in the sovereign bond placement processes in 2013 and 2017,” emphasized the Honduran institution .

According to the prosecutors in the Tony Hernández case, the lobbyists hired by Honduras contacted them to warn them of “collateral consequences” due to the process in relations with the Central American country in relation to the United States military bases in the country, as well as ” unrelated immigration issues “.

The Arnold & Porter campaign on behalf of the Honduran government tried to discredit the value of some witnesses in relation to the “collateral” cost in bilateral relations and claimed that it was lobbying other departments of the Donald Trump Administration after maintaining contacts with the Council. of National Security, according to the legal documents derived from the process against Tony Hernández.

Those contacts occurred in the fall of 2019, shortly after Arnold & Porter registered its relationship with Tegucigalpa in the Department of Justice’s Foreign Agent Database (FARA).

The FARA registration document, dated September 23, 2019, includes a contract dated in August of that year for $ 475,000 plus additional cats signed with Anderson & Porter by the then Honduran Finance Secretary Rocío Tábora, according to Efe. .

(c) EFE Agency

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