Local February 25, 2015 | 7:46 am

Dominican Republic Senator ‘smurfed’ taxpayers out of US$100M+

Santo Domingo.- The prosecution and the defense in the embezzlement and money laundering case against ruling party (PLD) senator Felix Bautista clashed again in the courtroom Tuesday, where the State repeated the term “smurfing” to describe how the alleged theft of more than US$100 million against taxpayers was made possible.

The attorneys for Bautista and codefendants Soraida Abreu Antonia Martínez, José Elías Hernández García, Antonio Bolivar Ventura Rodríguez, Carlos Manuel Ozoria Martinez, Gricel Aracelis Soler Pimentel and Bienvenido Apolinar Breton Medina asked the court for acquittal on lack of evidence.

The prosecution however cited the American Convention against Corruption in which the country is a signatory, to respond to the defense assertion that the charges against the accused lack legal status and prevented due process.

The prosecution said Bautista, then head the State Works Supervisory Engineers Office (OISOE), awarded contracts to a particular company, but months later transferred them to his company, Diseños y Presupuestos de Edificaciones y Carreteras con Alta Tecnología (Diprecalt).

It said the defendants "failed to explain the legality or origin of their money" and resorted to "smurfing," via which Bautista’s companies allegedly deposited CDs to hide suspicious transactions.

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