Over the years, it has been rumored in Honduras that the Rosenthal family was involved in money laundering. Some of the most vociferous leaders of the Honduran political left wing parties have publicly questioned the double morals of the United States when Mr. Jaime Rosenthal regularly appeared as a guest of honor at the yearly 4th of July party at the US Embassy in Tegucigalpa. So it was not a big surprise when Yankel Rosenthal, who was a member of the Hernandez regime cabinet earlier in the government was detained yesterday, October 6th in Miami for questioning by the US authorities. It was however a big surprise when the US embassy in Tegucigalpa informed yesterday afternoon, via their official web page, that the US Government was “Sanctioning the Rosenthal Money Laundering Organization”, under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act), freezing all their assets in the United States of America.
Jaime Rosenthal Oliva has long been one of the strongmen of the Liberal Party in Honduras, and in the last years, his son, Yani Benjamin Rosenthal Hidalgo has stepped up to take his father’s political leadership. The latter was a member of the Zelaya cabinet for the first half of the regime, however he distanced himself from the Zelaya government before the political crisis in 2009. Young Rosenthal went after the nomination of the Liberal Party of Honduras during the most recent elections, but was defeated by fellow liberal Mauricio Villeda.
It will be interesting to see what happens to the assets of “Rosenthal Money Laundering Organization” in Honduras. Most of the organization operates under the umbrella of Banco Continental, which is well established bank in Honduras For the time being the “Comision Nacional Bancos y Seguros de Honduras” has already released a statement regarding Banco Continental, assuring the account holders there that their money is safe. Since it is a national holiday in Honduras today through next Monday, banks are all scheduled to remain closed for the rest of the week.
I can only speculate that the next step that the US government will take regarding the Rosenthal family will be to request extradition of father and son to the USA. With the Obama administration giving President Hernandez a full backing with the OEA proposed anti corruption commission, I can only imagine the Honduras government will be forced to extradite both members of the family to the USA. These are interesting times indeed!