Banker arrested as Nicaragua crackdown expands


MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Nicaragua’s police have arrested a prominent banker in a sign the government’s pursuit of opponents is expanding beyond political leaders and potential challengers to President Daniel Ortega.

Police arrested the general manager of Banco de Produccion SA, Luis Rivas Anduray, late Tuesday and said they are investigating him for inciting foreign interference and seeking military intervention. The charges are similar to those leveled at 13 leaders of the political opposition arrested in recent weeks.

The police statement said he was also under investigation for “organizing with financing from foreign powers to carry out acts of terrorism and destabilization” and calling for and applauding sanctions against the Nicaraguan government and its citizens. Both are crimes under a law passed in December.

Banpro, part of the Grupo Promerica consortium, is one of the largest banks in Nicaragua. Among its clients are the police and the Social Security Institute.

Since the 2018 protests, the bank has blocked the accounts of at least 31 government officials and Ortega associates who have been sanctioned by the United States. Nicaragua’s congress passed a law in February prohibiting banks from closing such accounts without prior notification.

Rivas Anduray is the 16th person arrested since late May for allegedly committing crimes against the state. Most of the others were potential candidates for the presidential elections Nov. 7 or opposition party leaders.

His arrest came the same day that the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States approved a resolution condemning the arrests and demanding their immediate release.

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