Honduras seizes assets of conglomerate in money laundering case

A man holds a paper with the words 'We want our money' as he protests outside a branch of Banco Continental, hours after the Honduran government ordered its liquidation, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, October 12, 2015. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) – Honduran security forces seized 19 businesses and various properties belonging to the conglomerate Grupo Continental that U.S. investigators have accused of money laundering in the United States, the country’s prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Officials seized a real estate business, a hotel, an automobile importer and a meatpacker, among others things, according to a statement from prosecutors.

Grupo Continental is run by prominent Honduran banker Jaime Rosenthal and his son Yani, who were charged in U.S. court with money laundering last week along with another relative who is the head of one of the Central American country’s top soccer clubs.

The Rosenthal family has denied the charges.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said last week that it froze U.S. assets of the three Rosenthals and seven of their businesses, including Grupo Continental and its unit Banco Continental.

Honduran banking regulator CNBS has announced it will liquidate Banco Continental, and on Wednesday the regulator began to return money to more than 220,000 depositors.

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