Honduras' President Blasts El Chapo Bribe Claims

Published: 03 October 2019

El Chapo in U.S. 1El Chapo in US custody during his extradition

By Nicholas Wells

Honduras’ president blasted claims he was the intended recipient of a bribe from notorious drug trafficker Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman as “less serious than Alice in Wonderland.”

New York prosecutors claim President Juan Orlando Hernandez was the intended recipient of a $1 million bribe from Guzman, which was to be given through Hernandez’s brother, to help facilitate the flow of drugs through the Central American country.

The president took to Twitter late Wednesday calling the allegation “absurd.”

“The claim itself is 100% false, absurd and ridiculous... this is less serious than Alice in Wonderland,” he wrote on social media.

He also noted it wasn’t claimed he received the bribe, only that Guzman wanted to bribe him.

The allegations were made during the prosecution’s opening statements in the drug trafficking case against Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernandez Alvarado - a former congressman.

American prosecutors have painted Juan Orlando as sheltering his brother from police and other authorities. 

The former member of Honduras’ National Congress is accused of being a “large scale drug trafficker” who worked with other drug traffickers in Colombia, Honduras and Mexico, to import cocaine into the United States.

 Prosecutors say Tony was part of an elaborate drug trafficking operation, where he was involved in processing, receiving, transporting and distributing multi-ton loads of cocaine which arrived in Honduras on planes and even a submarine.

It’s also alleged cocaine through this organization was even stamped with Tony’s initials “TH” and the accused was caught on camera negotiating kickback payments with the former leader of a violent Honduran drug trafficking gang.

The defence team has attempted to portray Tony as a sympathetic figure, targeted due to his closeness with his brother.

A lawyer for El Chapo told the New York Post the allegation his client wanted to bribe the president of Honduras was “a lie.”

“There’s not any testimony that Chapo Guzman bribed the Honduran president,” said Jeffrey Lichtman. “If anything, one of the government’s witnesses and their large stable of cooperators did it.”

The trial is expected to last 10 to 12 days and if convicted, Tony faces the possibility of a life sentence.