Local May 13, 2011 | 7:35 am

Dominican lawyer’s shell companies hid Puerto Rican drug lord’s money

Santo Domingo.- The lawyer Mario Guerrero Heredia, who admitted having formed several companies for Jose Figueroa Agosto, yesterday testified that he sold a shell company to the defendant Mary Peláez, to build infrastructure from a bidding she had won in the State Works Supervisory Office, then headed by the now San Juan province (west) senator Felix Bautista.

The prosecution witness’ revelation came in the hearing against the eight accused of laundering money for Figueroa’s network, and also said he sold a shell company to the also defendant Eddy Brito for US$1,000.

He said he met Figueroa as Cristian Almonte, via police colonel Jose Amado González (gunned down December 24, 2010), a boyhood friend, who in 2006 bought from him another shell company for his father-in-law Rubén Soto Hayet (assassinated owner of the restaurant La Francesa, to buy a villa in La Romana.

He said 60 days later, González went to his office to tell him the villa would be bought by Almonte, through the shell company Shaolin Investment. Another contract was then made in which Soto yielded his shares to Cristian and his wife Fior Jansen Rodriguez (Leavy Nin Batista, another codefendant).

The Office of the Prosecutor uses this evidence against the also codefendant Madeline Bernard, with her lawyer’s objection.

During the cross-examination, Guerrero admitted having providing his employees to form shell companies for Figueroa and helped dodge taxes of several real estate properties. He also admitted being interrogated by the Justice Ministry several times in 2010 on his relationship with Figueroa.

He said he’s a friend of Sonya Uribe, ex-adviser of the Financial Analysis Unit, of the National Drug Council’s Anti-laundering Committee, for whom he formed another shell company.