MIAMI, Sept. 19, 2013 – New Bolivian illicit-enrichment charges against former Aerosur Airlines owner Humberto Roca parallel those that Mario Fabrizio Ormachea recently offered to have dismissed for $30,000 in extortion money, says Roca’s attorney Michael Diaz. “It looks like they rushed out and filed the very charges that Ormachea was offering to ‘resolve’,” said Diaz, of the Miami-based international law firm Diaz Reus. “These new charges are just another example of the unfounded political prosecution that Roca suffers in his own country,” [Case No. FIS ANTI 012193, Proceso Penal No. 701199201217014, Juez Cuarto de Instruccion Cautelar, Ciudad de Santa Cruz.]
Ormachea, the colonel leading Bolivia’s Anti-Corruption Unit, is being held without bail in Miami, awaiting an October 21 trial period after being arrested in an Aug. 31 Miami FBI sting operation. He has pled not guilty to two counts, Foreign Travel in Aid of Racketeering and Attempted Hobbs Act Extortion, for which he could face a maximum of 25 years in jail if found guilty. [United States District Court, Southern District of Florida; Case No. 1:13-cr-20690-RSR.]
Roca has already filed an action, said Diaz, to vacate the new Bolivian charges against him, made on behalf of Aerosur employees. “These charges are very similar to those filed against Roca in 2009, and attorneys are at work to have them dismissed,” said Diaz.
According to an FBI affidavit, during the August 30-31, 2013, sting operation Ormachea explained to Roca that Roca’s prosecution for illegal enrichment was a politically motivated scheme hatched by Bolivian President Evo Morales and Vice President Álvaro García Linera, for which there was no evidence of wrongdoing. Ormachea offered to charge someone else in Bolivia with the crime in lieu of Roca in exchange for $30,000. This offer, said the FBI, is documented in both video and audio recordings.
Earlier Roca had to flee his country when he was effectively stripped of Bolivian citizenship after criticizing the government and appearing as a strong political candidate in Bolivian elections. The government subsequently filed criminal charges against him and attempted to expropriate his assets, including his 51 percent controlling interest in Aerosur Airlines.
In December 2011 Roca filed suit in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, Miami Division, [11-cv-24356] against the State of Bolivia, Vice President Álvaro García Linera, and other parties.