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Bolivia wants the United States to extradite a former minister of Áñez

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Bolivian government will request to the United States the extradition of former Minister of Government (Interior) Arturo Murillo and his former chief of staff Sergio Méndez, who were arrested in that country for allegedly receiving bribes in a purchase of anti-riot material.

“Our jurisdiction allows us to carry out this process in Bolivian territory. That is why we want these Bolivians to be tried in national territory, we want these people to be held accountable”, said the Minister of Government, Eduardo del Castillo.

Former Ministers Arturo Murillo and Fernando López
Former Ministers Arturo Murillo and Fernando López. (Photo internet reproduction)

On May 21, Méndez was arrested in the United States following a report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indicating that Murillo’s former chief of staff had received US$582,000 in bribes.

This alleged bribery occurs in the context of the purchase of anti-riot material such as tear gas in 2020 during the transitional government of former President Jeanine Áñez, for which an arrest warrant is pending in Bolivia against Murillo for alleged overpricing in the acquisition.

At a press conference, Del Castillo showed photographs allegedly showing Murillo’s links with Méndez. He described it as a “mafia clan” of Áñez in which he pointed to Murillo, Méndez, and the former Minister of Defense, Fernando López.

The minister explained that the government of Áñez has paid US$5.7 million for the purchase of tear gas, but that the Brazilian company Condor was only paid US$3.3 million for its acquisition. Hence, there is economic damage to the State of US$2.3 million.

“Of these US$2.3 million, US$582,000 went to Rodrigo Méndez, and the rest was divided for the mafia clan”, said the minister. He also pointed out that everything possible will be done to recover this sum of money.


For this case, the ex-secretary or ex-member of Murillo’s security when he was minister was arrested this Wednesday after giving his statement in the city of La Paz.

Murillo’s brother-in-law, who is presumed to be linked to the case, was arrested when he was withdrawing money from a safe deposit box of a bank in the central city of Cochabamba,  and was taken to La Paz to give his statements.

In addition, the Ministry of Justice asked the Public Prosecutor’s Office to expand the investigation into the alleged overpriced purchase of riot gear to investigate these links “headed” by Áñez, who is in preventive detention for another case.

“We will use all the resources that the law grants us to promote criminal proceedings for this and other cases of corruption,” said the statement from the Ministry of Justice.

Meanwhile, former minister López wrote on his Twitter account that from his “forced and unjust exile,” he sees in the FBI investigation a “light of hope and justice to get to the truth”.

López and Murillo had not been in Bolivia since the inauguration of President Luis Arce in November last year.

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