A Nicaraguan lawmaker on Wednesday was denied bail after his recent arrest on a 14-year-old warrant from Florida that accuses him of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering.
U.S Magistrate Judge John McDermott ordered Alejandro Solorzano to remain behind bars until he's transferred to Miami where he and four others were named in a 33-count indictment that was returned in February 1997.
He and the others are accused of bilking millions of dollars from Egyptian businessman Hossam Aboul Fotouh, who sought $1.2 billion in financing for construction projects, by fabricating bank guarantees.
In September 1995, Solorzano received about $1.2 million that was transferred from his brother, Gabriel Solorzano, to a bank account in Costa Rica that he controlled, according to the indictment. He later wrote a $50,000 check to himself from the laundered funds, authorities said.
Alejandro Solorzano was arrested Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport when he got off a plane from Guatemala and was en route to Taiwan, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
Two other defendants remain fugitives. Gabriel Solorzano pleaded guilty to conspiracy and money laundering in 1999 and was sentenced to 31 months in prison.
Alejandro Solorzano, who is a representative and an executive secretary in the Central American Parliament, was scheduled to appear in federal court Wednesday _ his 53rd birthday _ for a bond hearing. He previously waived his right to a removal hearing and will be returned to the Southern District of Florida where he faces charges.
A telephone message for deputy federal public defender Asal Akhondzadeh was not returned by Wednesday afternoon.
Associated Press writer Edwin Tamara contributed to this report.