Local January 29, 2016 | 8:30 am

Top prosecutor: Organized crime sought to control Judicial Branch

Santo Domingo.- Justiceminister Francisco Dominguez on Thursday said a structure sponsored byorganized crime sought to control the Judicial Council, and boost thepossibilities of its new members leading to the entity´s election set forMarch.

"Those forcesoperating in the shadows managed to reach a high level of incidence within thesystem, mainly through a former councilor and several judges who somehow were ableto manipulate and negotiate important judicial rulings," he said.

The suspension ofseveral judges charged in the “rulings for sale” scandal hobbled the judicialsystem during the recently concluded year, including an alleged bribes torelease Erickson de los Santos, accused of heading a ring of hired killers.

Speaking at the AmericanChamber of Commerce´s monthly luncheon, Dominguez said the Justice Ministryassumed "the leadership to destroy the cartel, which "steamrolledmajor corruption and drug trafficking cases in its wake.”

He stressed that onemember of the Judicial Council has resigned, five judges have been suspended,three have been indicted and two face charges of corruption and bribery.

Felix Bautista case

When several businessleaders present asked Dominguez why he didn’t appeal last year´s ruling which acquittedsenator Felix Bautista, charged with embezzling more than US$100 million, the officialsaid, "I wasn’t confident of a positive ruling in that case."

He said however thathe´s confident that "similar cases, just as significant will not end upwith a ruling for impunity in the future."

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