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U.S. Indicts One Of Honduras' Most Powerful Famillies

Yani Rosenthal (center), pictured in 2012, has been indicted along with nine other men and charged by the U.S. with laundering drug money. He is a member of one of the richest and most politically powerful families in Honduras.

Three members of one of the wealthiest and most politically well-connected families in Honduras have been indicted by the U.S. on money laundering charges.

According to the court document, three members of the Rosenthal family, along with their lawyer, are accused of laundering money for drug traffickers.

NPR's Carrie Kahn reports on the indictment that was unsealed after one of the men was arrested Tuesday in Miami:

"The indictment charges that the three men, Jaime Rosenthal, a four-time presidential candidate and patriarch of the family's vast businesses, his son Yani and his nephew Yankel, the president of one of the country's leading soccer teams, conspired over the past decade to launder money on behalf of drug trafficking groups.

"The Rosenthal's lawyer was also named in the indictment.

"Yankel Rosenthal, who was arrested at Miami's airport, made his first appearance in federal court Wednesday in Miami.

"The Rosenthal family owns Grupo Continental which has holdings in banking, telecommunications and agriculture. The family also runs one of the largest newspapers in the country. They deny any wrongdoing."

In a statement released today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control said that the three Rosenthals, along with seven other businessmen, had been classified as "Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers" under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act for their roles in international narcotics trafficking.

This means that the ten men's U.S. assets are frozen and that U.S. citizens are prohibited from doing business with them.

In the statement, Adam J. Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence said:

"'This action targets the three Rosenthal family members and their properties for their money laundering and drug trafficking activities. This step underscores that the U.S. government is fully committed to protecting the U.S. financial system from criminals like the Rosenthals. We are fully committed to working with the Honduran authorities to take the necessary steps to protect the Honduran financial system from abuse by drug traffickers and other illicit actors, in order to further safeguard Honduran financial institutions.'"

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