(CNN Spanish) – The Bolivian Attorney General’s Office reported this Thursday that the extradition process of Arturo Murillo, a former Minister of Government of Bolivia who remains detained in the United States, began.
According to a statement from the Bolivian Prosecutor’s Office, the extradition request is given in the framework of the case called “Tear Gases”, where the alleged overpriced purchase of these elements is investigated during the interim government of Jeanine Áñez, when Murillo was served as Minister of Government.
CNN has tried to communicate this Friday with his lawyer in the United States, Julia Kefalinos, who has not answered the calls. So far it is unknown if Murillo contacted a defender in Bolivia.
On June 7 at 10 a.m. there will be a preliminary hearing in Miami. According to the US Department of Justice, if convicted, he would face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. This could delay the extradition process of Arturo Murillo to Bolivia. For the moment, the US authorities have not ruled on what Bolivia reported.
US federal authorities detained Murillo on Wednesday, according to the Justice Department. He is accused of money laundering and a bribery scheme developed between November 2019 and April 2020.
According to the US authorities, the purpose of these bribes would have been to benefit a company based in Florida with a million-dollar contract so that it would “obtain and maintain business with the Bolivian Ministry of Defense.” The contract would have precisely involved the purchase of non-lethal equipment and tear gas.
They raided Arturo Murillo’s properties in Bolivia
In the framework of the investigations, the Bolivian Prosecutor’s Office added that it will request “the freezing of international bank accounts owned by Arturo Murillo and others involved in alleged acts of corruption that are being investigated in Bolivian territory,” explained the attorney general. .
The authorities reported that several raid operations were deployed on Murillo’s buildings located in La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz in the morning of Thursday. The Prosecutor’s Office added that in the raids they seized computers and documents to be analyzed in the investigation against Murillo.