03 Mar 2021
A money laundering trail totaling hundreds of millions of dollars that stretched from Latin America to South Florida has ended with corruption charges against a former Ecuadorian official and an investment manager once based in Miami.
John Luzuriaga Aguinaga, 52, was arrested Monday on charges of accepting about $1.4 million in bribes as the risk director of the Ecuadorian government’s police pension fund.
U.S. authorities say Luzuriaga took the money from investment manager Jorge Cherrez Mino, an Ecuadorian who operated out of Panama and Miami. Cherrez, 46, who is believed to be in Mexico, is accused of pocketing at least $65 million from the scheme, which entailed the use of various investment companies and banks in Latin America and South Florida, according to authorities.
A pair of criminal complaints filed in Miami federal court say Cherrez’s investments, including bonds purchased by a Panamanian company, resulted in losses of $111 million to the Ecuadorian police retirement fund.
Luzuriaga, who served as the fund’s risk director and as a member of its investment fund committee between 2014 and 2019, expressed his gratitude to Cherrez for paying him the alleged bribes in exchange for the business. “Thank you for fixing my financial life and that of my family,” Luzuriaga said in a text message to Cherrez in December 2015.
By Jay Weaver, Miami Herald, 2 March 2021
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