Viewing cable 06SANSALVADOR2371
Title: MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES AGAINST SALVADORAN

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06SANSALVADOR23712006-09-27 15:32:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy San Salvador
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DE RUEHSN #2371 2701532
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 271532Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3904
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RUEANQT/FINCEN VIENNA VA
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEABND/DEA WASHINGTON DC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SAN SALVADOR 002371 
 
SIPDIS 
 
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INL FOR MARTIN 
PLEASE PASS TO SNAR 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10 YEARS 
TAGS: SNAR EFIN PGOV PINS KCRM ES
SUBJECT: MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES AGAINST SALVADORAN 
CONGRESSMAN/ARREST OF MAYORS MAY FOLLOW 
 
 
Classified By: DCM Michael A. Butler for reasons 1.4(b) & (d) 
 
¶1. (C) On September 25, the financial crimes division of the 
Salvadoran National Police (DAN) arrested the wife and 
mother-in-law of (substitute) Congressman Roberto Silva 
Pereira of the National Conciliation Party on charges of 
bribery and money laundering. A local bank manager implicated 
in the laundering scheme was also arrested. The police may 
later add charges of narcotics trafficking and tax evasion 
against all. As a congressman, Silva enjoys immunity from 
prosecution and has not been detained, although the Attorney 
General is preparing to present a strong package of evidence 
to the leadership of the National Assembly.  Leaders in the 
Assembly have told emboffs that they will begin reviewing 
evidence against Silva at their September 28 plenary session. 
 
¶2. (C)  Leaders of all political parties have stated publicly 
that Silva will be considered innocent until proven 
otherwise, but that they will lift his immunity if the 
charges against him are substantiated.  The National Assembly 
will have a maximum 60 day period to investigate Silva and 
decide whether to lift his immunity. Attorney General Saffie 
and National Police Director Rodrigo Avila assured Polcouns 
that evidence against Silva is irrefutable, and that Saffie 
will proceed against Silva once his immunity is lifted. 
Christian Democratic Party President Rodolfo Parker (protect) 
told Polcouns late September 25 that there are at least four 
mayors, two each from the ruling ARENA party and the PCN 
implicated in the money laundering scheme, and that they are 
to be arrested as well. Saffie (protect) assured Polcouns 
that those arrests will take place in the next 7-10 days. 
 
¶3. (C) The bank manager, Oscar Mauricio Contreras of Banco 
Hipotecario, received remittances from the U.S. on behalf of 
a construction company and furniture exporter owned by the 
Silva family.  After taking his cut, Contreras structured the 
transfers of the remittances to Silva's company accounts 
disguised as legitimate business transactions.  Silva's wife 
and mother-in-law would then withdraw cash from those 
accounts to be paid to third or fourth parties.  These 
withdrawals eventually became kickbacks paid to city hall 
officials in exchange for construction contracts in at least 
fourteen municipalities. 
 
¶4. (C) Silva, a thirty-one year old former semi-professional 
soccer player, won a Congressional seat in the La Union 
department last March.  Since that time, he has purchased a 
Porsche, Maserati, two luxurious beachfront properties, a San 
Salvador mansion, and a yacht.  Still, he might have gone 
undetected a while longer in his eastern hometown of La Union 
if his wife had not wired US$40,000 from a bank in Houston to 
Contreras in Banco Hipotecario and listed it as a remittance. 
 Ironically, a sharp-eyed regulator at Banco Hipotecario 
spotted the ruse and filed a Suspicious Activities Report 
with the Fiscalia. Neither Post nor local police agencies 
indicate possessing conclusive evidence linking Silva to 
narcotics trafficking.  Despite that, he fits the profile. 
He is from La Union, the same department which has a vast 
Pacific coastline, including the Gulf of Fonseca, and which 
produced former Congressman Eliu Martinez, who was deported 
to the U.S. in 2004 on drug trafficking charges. 
 
¶5.  (C) Comment: High-ranking GOES officials had earlier 
expressed concern that the PCN would try to turn Silva's 
arrest into a political circus, claiming that the arrest was 
intended to weaken the PCN.  The initial public reaction from 
PCN congressmen and party leadership appears to indicate that 
Silva has become somewhat radioactive, and that his own party 
may keep him at arms length.  The fact that indictments are 
coming against two ARENA mayors is likely to help Saca and 
the ARENA party leadership fend off charges that Silva's 
arrest is politically motivated. 
Barclay