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Money may have been motive in Haiti assassination, according to evidence in police report

Two former Colombian soldiers were found with thousands of dollars in cash on their dead bodies after the assassination of President Moise, according to evidence in the case that indicates they carried out the killing. (Leer en español)
11 Ago 2021 – 04:21 PM EDT
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Suspects in the assassination of Haiti's President Jovenel Moise are shown to the media, along with the weapons and equipment they allegedly used in the attack, at the General Direction of the police in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, July 8, 2021. Crédito: Joseph Odelyn/AP

Two former Colombian soldiers who died in the aftermath of the assassination of the president of Haiti Jovenel Moise were found with at least $50,000 in cash, according to a report by Haitian investigative justices obtained by Univision.

The money may have been taken from Moise’s residence after the assassination in the early hours of July 7, according to evidence in the case.

The two Colombians, Duberney Capador and Mauricio Romero were part of a 24-man team recruited by a South Florida company, CTU Security, supposedly to provide security for an ambitious economic development project.

The security mission morphed into an assassination and cash heist, according to a more detailed Haitian police report revealed on Wednesday by the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo.

One of the theories being examined by Haitian authorities is that in the days before the attack a plan developed to kill the president and grab the unspecified amount of money from the residence contained in two black bags and boxes.

Of that, a share would be "payment" for executing the crime, according to a preliminary report by the Haitian Judicial Police (DCPJ) jointly conducted under the auspices of Interpol and in conjuction with the authorities in the United States, Colombia, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, and Panama, reported El Tiempo.

"The suspects allegedly knew they were going to kill the president," the report states, according to El Tiempo.

Univision has not obtained a copy of the report and cannot independently verify its authenticity.

"Holes"

The 122-page report did not mention the exact amount of money, but stated that "it was a large amount," said Pierre Esperance, director of the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights in Haiti, who said he had seen a copy.

"It's an interesting report, but there are still some holes," Esperance told Univision. He said it was difficult to understand why Haiti's justice minister, Rockerfeller Vincent, has not resigned, considering he was the "right-hand man" of one of the accused, a former Justice Ministry official, Joseph Badio, who remains at large.

The information in the report is largely consistent with what Colombian authorities have previously said. Capador and Rivera were given the order assassinate the president by Badio, General Jorge Luis Vargas, head of Colombia's national police, told a July 16 press conference.

"It wasn't him"

Univision spoke with the families of eight of the retired Colombian soldiers, including Capador's sister, who all have strongly denied that their loved ones had anything to do with the assassination. Capador's sister said the president was already dead when he arrived at the scene.

"He just told me and that it wasn't him," said her brother Yenni Capador.

Human rights experts warn that the crime scene was so tainted by delays in evidence collection, as well as death threats against investigators, that police reports may not be legally reliable.

It is unclear how much money was involved and what happened to it, while the masterminds of the crime also remain a mystery.

Haiti's first lady, Martine Moise, who was injured in the attack, told The New York Times that the assassins spoke Spanish and searched the room looking for something.

The Colombian security operation which ended up in the president' death reportedly cost the investors $865,376, according to the report.

The head of CTU Security, Antonio Intriago, has denied any involvement in the crime and is cooperating with FBI and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents. The head of Worldwide Capital has also denied involvement in the murder.

Police complicity

The report also says that the evidence clearly indicates that there was complicity by the police who were in charge of the internal security of the house and let the assassins in without resistance. The heads of the president's security team were arrested two weeks after the murder, and at least 20 police officers have been named as suspects.

The day before the assassination the Colombians were informed by Capt (Rt) Germán Rivera they had new orders "to kill everyone they found in the house”, according to evidence in the report.

Rivera was allegedly designated as the head of the operation by one of the representatives of CTU Security, who used the name 'Col Mike.'

Rivera informed the group their their "bosses" had decided that after Moïse's death a former Supreme Court judge, Wendelle Coq Thélot, would take power. She was baptised with the codename; 'Diamond'.

Badio, the former head of the Haitian Justice Ministry’s anti-corruption unit, was responsable for handing out weapons, bullet-proof vests, vehicles and information regarding where to find the money.

The night of July 7

According to the investigation, around one o'clock in the morning of July 7, the group of retired soldiers arrived at the President's residence in six vans.

In each van they were accompanied by three or four Haitian policemen. "They subdued the personnel of the two checkpoints at the entrance to the presidential residence," the report reads.

One group, assigned the name 'Delta', and composed of six men, among them Romero and Capador, were given the task of getting to the President's bedroom.

"They had the mission to assassinate the President and search for the dollars", the report states.

The remaining soldiers, commanded by Rivera, remained on the second floor, communicating with Capador by radio telephone, the investigation found.

The evidence also indicates that the commandos found cash in the President's room, and the men "took the boxes, bags and suitcases to the corridor so that the group that was on the second floor could help to bring down the money and put it in the vans," according to the report.

One of the soldiers who was on the second floor allegedly took a photo of the President as he lay dead.

"They were calm, even sure that they would be protected by the Haitian authorities, because they had been told so. That is why they did not flee the island," reads the report.

Some of the Colombians managed to reach the Taiwan embassy, where Rivera assured them that they would be protected, but they would be captured later that day.

Capador and Romero died in unknown circumstances after a gun battle with police.

Romero's body was found later that day with a bullet wound to the head, according to the Haitian investigators report obtained by Univision. The report also records finding $7,180 in cash, near his body, as well as some Haitian currency, a cellphone and 14 automatic rifle bullets.


Nearby the body of Capador was also found with a suitcase containing $13,400 in cash, and another $30,000 in packets.

The report also describes several weapons found at the scene, including two handguns and an Uzi machine gun, three radios, a checkbook belonging to the First Lady, Martine Moise, and some of her husband’s business cards.

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