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Family of Murdered Honduran Environmentalist Calls for Criminal Investigation Against Dutch Bank

Family of Murdered Honduran Environmentalist Calls for Criminal Investigation Against Dutch Bank

The family of a murdered Honduran activist filed a petition Tuesday with Dutch prosecutors for a criminal investigation of a Dutch development bank that financed an infrastructure project in the Central American nation linked to the crime.

Environmentalist Berta Cáceres was organizing to stop the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the lands of the Lenca indigenous people when was shot to death in 2016.

The 138-page petition, prepared by the Amsterdam-based Global Justice Association, argues that the Dutch Business Development Bank (FMO) ignored warnings of possible bribery and fraud while providing millions of dollars for the Project.

FMO did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The bank has said it carried out environmental studies and consulted the local community, but then abandoned the project after Cáceres’s murder. FMO also says that it has since improved its human rights policies.

The Dutch prosecutor’s office did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the case.

Cáceres’ family wants prosecutors to investigate whether FMO violated financial and anti-money laundering laws, as well as whether it could be held responsible for complicity in acts of violence surrounding the project, including the murder of the environmentalist.

FMO is already the subject of another civil lawsuit in the Netherlands, in which the Cáceres family alleges that the bank contributed to human rights violations. The institution has said it is seeking a deal.

In early June, Roberto David Castillo, former president of Desarrollos Energéticos (Desa), the Honduran electricity company financed by FMO, He was sentenced to 22 years and six months in prison. for participating in the crime against the activist. Read full story

Bertha Cáceres, daughter of the murdered activist, said that she hopes that the criminal investigation can reveal “the faces and actions of those who made possible with their money and endorsed the attacks on the Lenca people.”

The hydroelectric project also received financing from the Finnish state investment fund Finnfund and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration. The petition against FMO does not ask for a criminal investigation of either of them.

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Written by Editor TLN

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