Nicaragua conviction for figure in singer's death

AP News
Posted: Sep 27, 2012 9:06 PM
Nicaragua conviction for figure in singer's death

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Henry Farinas, the man who was allegedly targeted when gunmen killed Argentine folk singer Facundo Cabral last year, has been convicted of money laundering, drug trafficking and organized crime, a Nicaraguan judge announced Thursday.

Judge Adela Cardoza found Farinas and 21 other people guilty of smuggling money for drug traffickers in a ruling late Wednesday after a monthlong trial. Their sentences are pending.

Prosecutors said Cabral was killed during an attack aimed at Farinas because the drug trafficking gang headed by Alejandro Jimenez believed Farinas had betrayed them. Jimenez, a Costa Rican citizen, allegedly ordered the hit on Farinas.

Farinas and Jimenez are alleged to have worked with a gang of Colombian traffickers who had ties to a Mexican cartel, La Familia.

Farinas was driving with Cabral after a July 2011 concert in Guatemala that Farinas organized when the hired gunmen sprayed the car with bullets. Cabral died, and Farinas was wounded but survived.

Prosecutors argued that the gang headed by Farinas laundered more than $1 billion for Jimenez, who is being held in Guatemala pending trial. Cabral has not been implicated in any illicit activity.

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After the verdict, Farinas repeated his insistence that he is innocent.

"The police have demonized me," Farinas said. "Those who carried out the attempt to kill me, I forgive them, and the same for those who have done this to me. Nothing has been fully proved here."

"If I am ever freed nobody will want to get near me," Farinas added. "I swear to God ... that the accusation is false."