Brazil planes graft scandal explodes in Dominican Republic(Update)
Santo Domingo.- Former Defense minister, Maj. Gen. ® Pedro RafaelPeña Antonio, and active Air Force colonel Carlos Piccini were arrestedWednesday in connection to the alleged US$3.5 million bribe for the purchase ofeight Super Tucano combat planes in 2009.
Picini and Peña were handed over b the Office of the AnticorruptionProsecutor y military authorities at the San Isidro Airbase.
A National District judge on Tuesday hasissued an arrest warrant against former Defense minister, Maj. Gen. (r) PedroRafael Peña Antonio, which revives the scandal around a US$3.5 million bribe inthe purchase of eight Super Tucano aircraft in 2009.
The warrant is also against active Air Force Col. CarlosPiccini, in the case that fuels allegations of government corruption during formerpresident Leonel Fernandez’s three terms in office.
National District instruction court judge Jose AlejandroVargas also ordered the arrest of businessmen Daniel Aquino Hernandez and hisson, Daniel Aquino Mendez.
Anticorruption prosecutor Laura Guerrero said several lawmakersand around four companies are under investigation
Local media report that both Peña as well as Picciniresisted arrest, and sent a missive to inform her that they didn’t appear beforethe Office of the Prosecutor because they are military.
When the intercept planes were bought, Piccini was theDominican Air Force’s Special Projects Manager.
Brazilian authorities and the Justice Ministry have been investigatingthe alleged bribe since 2013, linking civilians and military and governmentofficials during Fernandez’s administrations, with the Brazilian giant Embraer,that sold the Super Tucanos.
The first two aircraft arrived in the country in December2009, while Fernandez was still in office, and were received in a widelycelebrated event, "to strengthen surveillance and prevent the violation ofDominican airspace by drug traffickers’ aircraft."