Local May 13, 2015 | 2:45 pm

Justice Ministry eyes links between Colombian cartel, Ponzi scheme

Santo Domingo.- The Justice Ministry’s Anti-money Laundering Unit on Wednesday reviewed computer files looking for evidence that a Colombian cartel used a local evangelical church to launder money is the same on that swindled hundreds of Dominican out of millions of dollars in the Telexfree scandal last year.

Unit director Germán Miranda said they don’t rule out that the "pastor" Jorge Mercedes Cedeño, arrested in Colombia along with others, is the same being sought in connection with the Telexfree case since last year.

He said given that possibility of a money laundering connection, the investigation aims to determine if the Ponzi scheme of Telexfree bilked millions of dollars, to then declare bankruptcy in a court in Florida.

Colombian authorities said Tuesday that it had “dealt a severe blow’ to the drug trafficking ring Clan Úsuaga (Los Urabeños), headed Dairo Antonio Úsuga (Otoniel), the country’s most wanted fugitive, which allegedly used a Dominican Protestant church and others in Colombia to launder money.

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