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EDNY Probe of FIFA Makes Bank Hapoalim Pay $30M For Money Laundering

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon, Thread Video
Honduras - The Source - The Root - etc

SDNY COURTHOUSE, April 30 -- From the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, this: "Bank Hapoalim B.M. (“BHBM”), an Israeli bank with international operations, and its wholly owned subsidiary, Hapoalim (Switzerland) Ltd. (“BHS”), have agreed to forfeit $20,733,322 and pay a fine of $9,329,995 to resolve an investigation into their involvement in a money laundering conspiracy that fueled an international soccer bribery scheme."

From DC: "Federal Reserve Board announces it has fined Bank Hapoalim B.M. $37.35 million for the firm’s unsafe and unsound practices resulting in violations of U.S. tax laws."

More EDNY: "Specifically, BHBM and BHS have admitted that they, through certain of their employees, conspired to launder over $20 million in bribes and kickbacks to soccer officials with Fédération Internationale de Football Association (“FIFA”) and other soccer federations."

 EDNY prosecutors' FIFA cases include 26 publicly announced individual guilty pleas (including Blazer, Rocha, Hawilla, Callejas all 4 are deceased).  Several defendants who pleaded guilty were sentenced, including Takkas, Hector Trujillo, Li, Jimenez, Salguero, Pletsch.  They have completed their sentences (except for supervised release and financial components).  Others who pleaded guilty are awaiting sentencing - 2 individual defendants (Napout and Marin) convicted at trial. They have been sentenced.  Napout is in prison.  Marin was granted compassionate release last week and is in Brazil - 4 corporate guilty pleas (two Traffic entities, Mimo, US Imagina LLC) - 1 corporate Deferred Prosecution Agreement - 2 corporate Non Prosecution Agreement."

  Regarding those cases with particular regard to Honduras (which saw another indictment on April 30 across the East River in the SDNY, here), The death of FIFA scandal plagued former Honduras president Rafael Callejas was confirmed by current drug scandal plagued president Juan Orlando Hernandez on April 5; AP reported that "Callejas, 76, pleaded guilty in 2016 and was reportedly being held at a prison in Atlanta when he died."

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Brian A. Benczkowski, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, William F. Sweeney, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office (IRS-CI), made the announcement. “Today’s resolution marks another successful chapter in this District’s effort to hold accountable those corporations and individuals who participated in a bribery scheme that corrupted international soccer,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “This Office, along with our law enforcement partners, will continue to identify wrongdoers who manipulate international soccer in order to reap illicit profits and bring them to justice.” “For nearly five years, Bank Hapoalim employees used the U.S. financial system to launder tens of millions of dollars in bribe payments to corrupt soccer officials in multiple countries,” stated AAG Benczkowski. “Today’s announcement demonstrates the Department’s commitment to holding financial institutions to account when they knowingly facilitate corruption and other criminal conduct.”  2  “This announcement illustrates another aspect in the spider web of bribery, corruption and backroom deals going on behind the scenes as soccer games were played on the field. Bank Hapoalim admits executives looked the other way, and allowed illicit activity to continue even when employees discovered the scheme and reported it. The New York FBI Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force and our law enforcement partners have doggedly pursued every strand uncovered in this criminal investigation, and  will keep at it until they root out all of the bad actors,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in- Charge Sweeney.  “This forfeiture sends a clear message that no matter how complex or far reaching the conspiracy, justice will prevail. Bank Hapoalim B.M. and its subsidiary, Hapoalim Ltd., participated in a conspiracy that corrupted international soccer, its confederations, and member associations,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Korner. “IRS-CI is proud to work alongside our international law enforcement partners, the FBI, and the United States Attorney’s Office to bring closure to this egregious international scandal that corrupted the sport of soccer.”  According to admissions in the statement of facts stipulated to by BHBM and BHS as part of the agreement, from approximately December 10, 2010 to February 20, 2015, BHBM and BHS personnel conspired with sports marketing executives, including executives associated with Full Play Group S.A. (“Full Play”), a sports media and marketing business based in Argentina, and others, to launder at least $20,733,322 in bribes and kickbacks to soccer officials. In exchange for those bribes and kickbacks, the soccer officials awarded or steered broadcasting rights for soccer matches and tournaments to the sports marketing executives and their companies. Full Play allegedly executed the illegal payments from accounts held at BHS and BHBM’s branch in Miami, Florida, which were held in the names of Full Play subsidiaries and affiliates. BHBM and BHS admitted they, through BHS and BHBM’s Miami branch, conspired to launder money for Luis Bedoya, who at various times served as the president of the Federación Colombiana de Futbol, a vice president of the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL), and a member of FIFA’s executive committee. BHBM and BHS allowed accounts controlled by Bedoya to be used to receive illicit bribe and kickback payments. In November 2015, Bedoya pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy in the Eastern District of New York. He is awaiting sentencing.  Despite BHS compliance personnel repeatedly raising concerns about certain payments made to soccer officials from the accounts associated with Full Play, BHBM and BHS failed to take action. Instead, the banks’ relationship managers continued executing illicit bribe and kickback payments on behalf of Full Play. As outlined in the agreement, the government’s decision to enter into a three-year, non-prosecution agreement with BHBM and BHS was premised upon the banks’ thorough and complete cooperation, BHBM’s pledge to review and improve its  3  anti-money laundering program, and the banks’ other substantial remedial efforts, which include closing Bank Hapoalim (Latin America) S.A. and BHBM’s branch in Miami. BHS is also in the process of closing its operations." Inner City Press will follow these cases as much as possible.

  As to previously SDNY target on FIFA Rafael Callejo there was only one problem with that. Even a cursory search of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons website for Rafael Callejas finds one, 76,  Register Number: 81120-053, released from U.S. custody on 12/17/2015.

  Inner City Press will have more on these cases. Watch this site.

During the trial that convicted Tony Hernandez, the brother of Honduras' president Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH), on all four counts of guns and narcotics trafficking and false statements, the Honduran National Police came up again and again in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

  On March 30, the US Attorney's Office proposed to move Tony Hernandez' sentencing back again, this time to May 15, and has alluded to a possible conflict of interest by Tony H's "new" / second corporate counsel, see below.

  And now on March 31 it has just become public that Tony Hernandez' sentencing is pushed even further back, to June 5: "MEMO ENDORSEMENT as to Juan Antonio Hernandez Alvarado on [144] LETTER by USA as to Juan Antonio Hernandez Alvarado addressed to Judge P. Kevin Castel re: Status Conference. ENDORSEMENT: The conference originally scheduled for March 31, 2020 is adjourned to April 15, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. The sentencing originally scheduled for April 15, 2020 is adjourned to June 5, 2020 at 11:30 a.m. SO ORDERED. (Status Conference set for 4/15/2020 at 02:00 PM before Judge P. Kevin Castel. Sentencing set for 6/5/2020 at 11:30 AM before Judge P. Kevin Castel.) (Signed by Judge P. Kevin Castel on 3/30/2020)." Inner City Press will stay on the case(s).

From the US Attorney's Office March 30 filing: "On or about March 12, 2020, the Government understands that Current Counsel notified the Court that it believes that a conflict exists concerning Current Counsel’s representation of the defendant. (See Dkt. 142). On March 12, 2020, the Court scheduled a conference for March 19, 2020, so that the Court could consider the potential conflict, and possibly appoint new counsel from the Criminal Justice Act panel, Peter Brill, Esq., (“New Counsel”) for the defendant. (Id.). On March 18, 2020, the Court adjourned the conference to March 31, 2020. (Dkt. 143). Due to complications arising from the current Coronavirus pandemic, neither Current Counsel nor New Counsel have been able to meet with the defendant to discuss this potential conflict. Further, the United States Marshals Service has informed the Government that it is unable to produce the defendant for Tuesday’s conference. However, the Government understands that defense counsel is now able to consult with the defendant by video conference, and the Government has been informed that Current Counsel has requested a video conference with the defendant for this week. As such, the Government respectfully requests that the Court adjourn the upcoming conference two weeks, and that, by no later than April 10, 2020, the parties update the Court concerning the replacement of counsel. At that time, the parties anticipate that they may be able to inform the Court that the defendant has been told about the existence of this potential conflict, and the Court may be able to appoint new counsel, if necessary, without an appearance by the parties in Court.

Finally, sentencing in this matter is currently scheduled for April 15, 2020. If New Counsel is appointed, the Government respectfully submits that no more than a one-month adjournment of this date, to on or about May 15, 2020, is necessary. A one-month adjournment would provide New Counsel with approximately five weeks to prepare for sentencing. Particularly given that the defendant’s trial counsel has already submitted a sentencing submission, and that the defendant was granted new counsel, at his request, on the eve of his previously scheduled sentencing, no further delay is warranted." Inner City Press will continue on this case, and Honduras. Watch this site.

 On March 3 there was another arrest, this one citing "CC-4" while UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres continues to refusal all questions about his support for involved Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernandez. The March 3 announcement is that "GEOVANNY DANIEL FUENTES RAMIREZ was charged in Manhattan federal court with conspiring to import cocaine into the United States and related weapons offenses involving the use and possession of machineguns and destructive devices.  DEA agents arrested FUENTES RAMIREZ on March 1, 2020, at Miami International Airport as he attempted to depart the United States, and was presented yesterday afternoon in Miami federal court.     Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As alleged, Geovanny Daniel Fuentes Ramirez was, up until his arrest by the DEA two days ago, a prolific, powerful, and murderous cocaine trafficker in Honduras.  As further alleged, Fuentes Ramirez paved the way for unimpeded shipment of multi-ton loads of cocaine by bribing police and a high-ranking Honduran politician, and reporting directly to Tony Hernandez, another co-conspirator in the scheme and himself a former Honduran congressman.  Thanks to the DEA, a key player in the unholy alliance of Honduran officials and drug traffickers is now in custody and facing a possible life behind bars.”     DEA Special Agent in Charge Wendy Woolcock said:  “The arrest of Geovanny Daniel Fuentes Ramirez is yet another example of DEA’s perseverance to bring to justice criminal associates of corrupt Honduran public officials and law enforcement officers who enabled the trafficking of massive amounts of cocaine headed to the United States.  These corrupt arrangements resulted in horrible violence in Honduras and beyond.  The DEA will continue to aggressively pursue and bring to justice those who participated in these activities, threatened the rule of law, and operated with complete disregard for human life for their financial gain.”     According to the allegations contained in the Complaint[1] charging FUENTES RAMIREZ, evidence presented at the October 2019 trial of Juan Antonio Hernandez Alvarado in the Southern District of New York, and statements in open court during the prosecution of Hernandez Alvarado:     Between approximately 2004 and 2020, multiple drug trafficking organizations in Honduras and elsewhere worked together, and with support from certain prominent public and private individuals, including Honduran politicians and law enforcement officials, to receive multi-ton loads of cocaine sent to Honduras from, among other places, Colombia via air and maritime routes, and to transport the drugs westward in Honduras toward the border with Guatemala and eventually to the United States." Since then: Maduro...

  Earlier, Inner City Press first reported that Mauricio Hernández Pineda, a former member of the National Police of Honduras,  has been arrested and detained on consent. He signed a financial affidavit of poverty - ironic - and was assigned CJA court appointed counsel, Michael Martin. Soon he will appeared before SDNY Judge Castel. Inner City Press will remain on the case.

  Also during Tony Hernandez' trial, the drug ledgers of one Nery Orlando López Sanabria a/k/a Magdaleno were used by the SDNY prosecutors.

  Here is an Inner City Press tweeted photo of notebook mentioning "JOH," in Spanish. Inner City Press has repeated asked the United Nations, in New York and Geneva, for comment. Dead silence.

A week after the Tony Hernandez verdict, Magdaleno was murdered in a supposedly maximum security prison in Santa Barbara, Honduras.

  The video are very troubling [WARNING] including the guards letting the killers in, here.

  UNSG Antonio Guterres refused all Press questions about Honduras during the trial and in the nine days since the verdict. On October 29 Inner City Press has asked: "what are the comments and actions of Guterres on the video taped killing of Nery Orlando López a/k/a Magdaleno Meza Fúnez, whose notebooks were used to convict Presidential brother Tony Hernandez in the SDNY court this month? Now Reinero Valle has, as Madgaleno had before his assassination, asked to be moved out of that El Pozo prison due to threats to silence him as a witness, so far without response to his lawyer Nazario Luque? Again, immediately provide the report / read-out of Guterres' four person panel sent to Honduras, and complete read out of his meeting with JOH." Now as of November 2, as Guterres presumptively uses El Chapo's money via JOH to visit strongmen leaders in Turkey and Thailand then, uncontested, waste money at his real home in Lisbon, nothing. Total corrupt.

This while Guterres' UN, despite its protestations and misuse of the concept, enable fake news in Honduras.

   On October 27 a publication in Honduras said the UN office of human rights has said nothing. But nothing had been emailed out to its press list, and nothing could be found on its website in Geneva - it turns out news it doesn't want anyone or at least not the drug funded dictators it answers to see it, it puts on obscure sub-sites, see below.

At 9 am on October 28 Geneva time Inner City Press in writing asked UN "High Commissioner for Human Rights" Michelle Bachelet and her spokesman Rupert Colville this: "Hello, this is a Press request for OHCHR / Bachelet comment on the murder, on video, in Honduras of 'Magdeleno' whose drug trafficking notebook were used in recent SDNY conviction of Presidential brother Tony Hernandez, a trial Inner City Press covered every day. See video of killing here.

   More on Patreon here.

  Inner City Press which covered the trial daily has asked the UN for the comment of SG Antonio Guterres who met with JOH in September 2019 and did not even mention corruption, much less drug trafficking.

 On October 26 after the murder and release of the video, Inner City Press went to (try to) pose the question to Guterres. The response? Video here. Three UN security vehicles, and even a publicly funded NYPD detective, "protecting" Guterres who already wastes untold public funds on security. Disgusting. A protest has been called for, and is needed - @InnerCityPress response here.  More on Patreon here.

Inner City Press on October 18 asked the defendant's lawyer Omar Malone about this client's post arrest statement, the admitted murders by the cooperating witnesses, and upcoming sentencing submission. Video and answers here.

    Here was the post arrest statement as initially put in to the jury, as uploaded to YouTube by Inner City Press, here. The case is US v. Diaz Morales, 15-cr-00379 (Castel).


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