US arrests financier over Moïse murder

A US financier living in Florida was arrested Tuesday in connection with the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, as the US government moved forward with the investigation while investigations in Haiti appeared to be stalling.

Walter Veintemilla was charged with conspiracy to kill or kidnap a person outside the United States and with conspiring to provide material support and resources resulting in death, his attorney, Tama Kudman, said.

“He will plead not guilty to both charges,” Kudman told The Associated Press.

A squad of Colombian soldiers is among those suspected of having carried out the murder in July 2021, although the motive and the true perpetrators of the crime remain unknown. A security company in Miami that hired the soldiers for the mission had turned to Veintemilla for funding, according to authorities.

Kudman confirmed Veintemilla’s arrest ahead of a news conference announced by the Justice Department on various arrests in the case.

Claude Joseph, who was prime minister during Moïse’s presidency, praised the announcement. “Justice must triumph,” Joseph tweeted, along with a photo of the US government press release.

A few days ago, the widow of the Haitian president, Martine Moïse, who was wounded in the attack but survived, called for the creation of a special UN court to investigate the assassination, stating that the case had suffered political and legal blocks for 19 months.

“The murderers are still on the loose,” said Martine Moïse.

There are eight people in total in custody in the United States in the case, including James Solages and Joseph Vincent, two Haitian-Americans who were among the first arrested after Moïse was shot 12 times in his private home in July 2021. Other suspects include Christian Emmanuel Sanon, a pastor and failed businessman who, according to relatives, was deceived by the true architects of the crime.

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Also in custody are former Haitian Senator John Joël Joseph, who had fled to Jamaica, and former US government informant and Haitian businessman Rodolphe Jaar, who was extradited from the Dominican Republic.

As the investigation in the United States progresses, the one undertaken by Haiti seems stalled. Three judges have walked away from the case for fear of being killed, and a fourth has been ousted. No court hearings have yet been held for the more than 40 suspects arrested in Haiti, including the 18 Colombian soldiers confined to an overcrowded prison in Port-au-Prince that often runs out of food and water.

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