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FBI was "aware" of Haiti security plan and president was "betrayed" by his bodyguards, say Miami lawyers linked to case

The Miami lawyers for security firm owner Antonio Intriago say former Colombian soldiers hired as security contractors "had no part in the death of the president, according to a press release on Wednesday.
4 Ago 2021 – 08:09 PM EDT
Members of the team of Colombian security contractors arrested in Haiti after the assassination of president Jovenel Moise. Crédito: AP

Lawyers for Anthony Intriago, a Venezuelan-American linked to the supposed plot to assassinate Haiti's President Jovenel Moise, say the FBI was “aware” of his plan to provide security for a group supposedly seeking to redevelop the county.

The lawyers for Intriago, who’s company hired a team of Colombian former soldiers now detained in Haiti and accused of killing the president, say the security contractors “had no part in the death of the president, according to a press release on Wednesday.

Instead, the lawyers said, “it is our belief that the president’s own bodyguards betrayed him.”

Intriago, who owns a security services company, CTU, near Miami, was "confident that the US government knew exactly what was taking place in Haiti,” the lawyers said in the press release which detailed how their client became involved with a group of “international investors, mayors, religious leaders and powerful politicians” who had put together “a humanitarian redevelopment plan” for the country via a series of infrastructure projects including a solar energy plant.

Intriago, who is cooperating with agents from the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) believed enough in the project to ask a Colombian business associate and former military officer, Arcangel Pretel, to contact the U.S. government “to get assurances that the business dealings were legitimate,” according to the Lacayo law firm in Miami.

Pretel allegedly claimed to have worked for the FBI and invited agents to visit the office of CTU “on a number of occasions and the agents were made aware of the actions of CTU and the upcoming business plan,” they stated in the press release.

Assassination shrouded in mystery

Four weeks after the assassination, it remains unclear who was behind the plot to kill Moise, who was fatally shot 12 times in his bedroom at his official residence in the early hours of July 7.

A number of suspects are detained in Haiti including some of those who had dealings with Intriago, including a Haitian evangelical pastor, Christian Sanon, who was the architect of the redevelopment plan, several senior members of the presidential security team, as well as the Colombian security contractors, and two Haitian-Americans who were assisting them.

Three Colombians were killed in the aftermath of the assassination and several other suspects are still at large.

Joseph Tesmond, one of the lawyers for Intriago, told Univision Noticias that the law firm sent a letter to the Department of Justice on Wednesday requesting the preservation of any evidence relating to the investigation, including all communications involving their client and informants for any U.S. government agency, including the FBI and DEA.

The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Univision Noticias.

Lawyers for Intriago now believe he was “the victim of an elaborate scheme by Haitian individuals to assume power in Haiti through an agenda and actions that Mr Intriago was unaware of.”

They add that their client “had no knowledge of and no part in the tragic events that took place on July 7, 2021,” and was not in any way involved in the plotting to or killing of President Moise.”

Intriago’s lawyers said that it was Pretel who recruited the group of 28 former Colombian soldiers to provide security for the redevelopment mission.

An unexpected turn

“Just prior to the tragedy,” the plan took a sudden, unexpected turn, the lawyers say. Intriago was informed that the security team was being requested to accompany a former Haitian Supreme Court judge, Windelle Coq, along with Haitian police to serve an arrest warrant against the president for "murder" signed by a former district attorney, Gerald Norgaisse. Intriago asked to see a copy of the arrest warrant, dated Feb 18, 2019, which the lawyers provided to Univision.

The plan to arrest the president appears to be far-fetched and riddled with legal irregularities. Coq was fired by Moise in February after she allegedly participated in a coup attempt, apparently using the same arrest warrant. She appealed her dismissal and an arrest warrant was issued for her this week in connection with the Moise investigation. The supposed prosecutor, Norgaisse, resigned his position in 2014, sources told Univision.

The lawyers for Intriago say the Colombian security contractors “had no part in the death of the president” and that their role was instead to guard the officials while the arrest was carried out.

By the time the Colombians entered the presidential residence they found the president dead and his wife wounded.

Intriago was in Texas attending a family gathering when he learned of the change in plan. As soon as he heard the president had been assassinated he returned to Miami where he began cooperating with U.S. law enforcement, including turning over his phone and laptop computer, as well as providing access to his office.