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Ex-Haitian president to be questioned over graft

13 August 2014, 13:34

Port-au-Prince - Former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide has been summoned to appear before an examining magistrate on Wednesday over alleged money laundering and drug trafficking, judicial documents showed.

Aristide was ordered to court for questioning in an investigation involving illicit drug trafficking, embezzlement of public funds, abuse of authority and misappropriation, bribery and money laundering, according to a court authorisation.

Last week Port-au-Prince civil court judge Raymond Jean Michel told AFP that Aristide was the subject of an investigation over the matter that dates back to 2006 and 2007.

"There are two cases concerning former president Aristide at the court related to money laundering, corruption and the illicit drug trafficking", he told AFP.

Around 30 people are being investigated under the probe, including some Aristide relatives and former officials from his tenure in office.

An investigation launched in 2005 into the management of Aristide's government concluded that millions of dollars worth of public funds had been misappropriated.

Earlier this year, a Haitian judge indicted several people with close ties to Aristide in the 2000 murder of a prominent journalist.

Aristide, Haiti's first democratically elected leader was voted president twice, in 1990 and in 2000. However, his first mandate was interrupted between 1991 and 1994 by a coup that saw him take refuge in the United States.

When another coup ousted him in 2004, he left aboard a US Air Force plane into exile in South Africa, fleeing political turmoil. He returned to his homeland in March 2011.

Known as a champion of Haiti's poor and reviled by the elite, Aristide, a former Roman Catholic priest is still popular in the impoverished country.



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