Venezuelan editor detained, accused of alleged money laundering

  • By
  • August 5, 2013

By Alejandro Martínez

Leocenis García, editor and director of the Venezuelan news media group 6to Poder, was charged and held at a military base on August 1 for alleged money laundering, reported Spanish news agency EFE.

According to a press release from the Venezuelan government, García, who was detained last Tuesday for "allegedly incurring in the action of money laundering," charges that could lead up to 10 years in jail.

In an interview with television network VTV, parliamentary member Julio Chávez, who brought forth the charges against García, stated that in 2012 García placed $5 million USD in a Swiss bank account, despite reporting in his financial statements a figure below that amount.

Alfredo Romero, a lawyer for García, said the charges against his client are poorly supported and called it a "political persecution" against him for being the owner of the weekly 6to Poder and "having wanted to buy a television channel, which was also denied," reported EFE.

García, who is accused of money laundering, tax evasion and financing terrorist acts, is currently detained at a Caracas military base. He had said in the last few weeks that the government was carrying out a campaign against him. On July 24, García's Grupo 6to Poder stated its bank accounts had been frozen, which also led to the suspension of the operations of media outlets 6to Poder, El Comercio, 6toPoderWeb, Revista Usex, 6to Poder Datos and 6to Poder Radio.

On Wednesday, the Inter American Press Association expressed its concern for what it described as a campaign of hostilities and “abrupt economic measures” against several media outlets in the country. In addition to García's arrest, the country's Attorney General froze the bank accounts of the executive editor of the daily El Nacional, Miguel Henrique Otero, who has also criticized the Venezuelan government.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.