MANAGUA, NICARAGUA (AP) — Nicaragua’s police have arrested a prominent banker in a sign the government’s pursuit of opponents is expanding beyond political leaders and potential challengers to President Daniel Ortega.
Police arrested the executive president of Banco de Produccion SA, Luis Rivas Anduray, late on Tuesday and said they are investigating him for inciting foreign interference and seeking military intervention.
The charges are similar to those levelled at 13 leaders of the political opposition arrested in recent weeks.
The police statement said he was also under investigation for “organising with financing from foreign powers to carry out acts of terrorism and destabilisation” and calling for and applauding sanctions against the Nicaraguan government and its citizens. Both are crimes under a law passed in December.
Banpro, part of the Grupo Promerica consortium, is one of the largest banks in Nicaragua. Among its clients are the police and the Social Security Institute.
Since the 2018 protests, the bank has blocked the accounts of at least 31 government officials and Ortega associates who have been sanctioned by the United States (US).
Nicaragua’s congress passed a law in February prohibiting banks from closing such accounts without prior notification.
Rivas Anduray holds a doctorate in economics from Cornell University and has worked for Banpro since 2004. The bank was founded in 1991 and has offices throughout Central America and in the Caribbean.
In a statement on Wednesday, Banpro General Manager Juan Carlos Arguello expressed confidence that the situation would be cleared up. Before joining Banpro, Rivas Anduray held high-level positions in the Central Bank and Finance Ministry during the government of President Enrique Bolaños.