Daniel Ortega freezes Church's bank accounts and accuses it of money laundering

The Nicaraguan government once again lashed out against the Catholic Church. In the last few days, several dioceses had their bank accounts frozen throughout the country, according to various sources.

"The National Police initiated investigations that led to the discovery of hundreds of thousands of dollars, hidden in bags located in facilities belonging to dioceses in the country." With these words issued in an official statement on Saturday, Daniel Ortega's regime issued justified its latest attack against the Nicaraguan Catholic Church.

The text explains that the law enforcement authorities received information about an alleged "illicit activity in the handling of funds and resources in bank accounts" belonging to persons convicted of treason, although it does not clarify who.

The discovery would have initiated further investigations. According to the police, these investigations uncovered numerous abnormalities, such as the total or partial voidance of frozen bank accounts. In short, the authorities accuse the Church of officiating as a "money laundering network." In addition, the statement confirms that different institutions of the country detected criminal activity with funds that "have illegally entered" Nicaragua.

Several sources confirmed in recent days that the bank accounts of some of the nine dioceses in the country were frozen. Human rights lawyer Martha Patricia Molina unsuccessfully tried to transfer money to the Archdiocese of Managua.  She shared some screenshots on social media which show the messages "Your transfer could not be completed" and "verify that the account details are correct."

Leopoldo Brenes told the local media outlet Despacho 505, "I had been told about the suspension of the accounts," However, he claimed to have no information about the money laundering accusation or the investigation that allegedly found bags of money hidden in Church facilities. "We will continue to work because the work of the church is evangelization."

Dioceses affected

In addition to the diocese of Managua, the dioceses of Matagalpa, León and Chinandega were also affected, according to a report by El País which also reported that church sources suspect that one of the people mentioned in the official statement could be Jaime Iván Montecinos Sauceda, a priest who was imprisoned last week. According to the newspaper, the frozen accounts could also be linked to the recent arrest of priests Eugenio Rodriguez and Leonardo Guevara.