Authorities in Bolivia are opening an investigation into the death of a bank controller who apparently died after falling from the 14th floor, in a case that has sent shockwaves through the country, the government announced Sunday.
The body of Carlos Alberto Colodro was found Saturday night at the doors of the Fassil bank, the bank that the State intervened last month due to illiquidity problems, Government Minister Eduardo del Castillo said.
The police removed the body and reported the start of investigations.
Colodro, 52, was sworn in as auditor of the Fassil bank on April 26, in order to return customers' savings.
The death of Colodro did not take long to raise suspicions. The family said a suicide is pointless and demanded a transparent investigation, Jorge Balda, the family's lawyer, told media on Sunday.
A branch in La Paz, Bolivia. AP Photo
Balda explained that the auditor went to work in the building and that there were other people in the place who would be called to testify. He also said that Colodro did not leave any farewell notes and that the family told him that he was under a lot of pressure.
According to its website, Fassil Bank ranked fifth in commercial banking in the country and had been operating for eight years. But it suspended its debit and credit card services since April and was subsequently unable to return deposits to hundreds of customers. Four of its top executives were sent to jail on a preventive basis for financial crimes.
After the intervention, Fassil's portfolio and savings were distributed among nine other financial institutions and just last Friday Colodro had announced that the assets of the bank would be sold as of Monday to cover debts with workers.
"Suspicions" of Evo Morales
In statements to the radio station Kawsachun Coca, Evo Morales said that he was "surprised" by the death of the auditor of Banco Fassil, Carlos Colodro, and that this fact "raises a lot of suspicion" and called for "an independent and transparent investigation."
Morales considered that the event shows that "there is no security" in the country and questioned that the intervention was "so late."
The former president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, sowed doubts about the suicide of the auditor. AP Photo
The former president recalled that President Luis Arce recently admitted that he knew, when he was Minister of Economy in his Government, about the irregularities in Fassil, but that he "never" reported anything.
"If the brother president already knew 2018 or 2019 and commented that there were irregularities (in the Fassil bank). That moment was to stop so that there are no such (facts) of extortion (...) it is very serious," he said.
Morales also added on Twitter that "the relationship of the unfortunate death of the auditor with the alleged negotiations and possible money laundering" in Fassil must be clarified.
And he demanded that "the journalists investigating this case be provided with security and that it be determined if there are media links."
After learning of the death of the auditor, the journalist of the DTV television channel Júnior Árias, who revealed the details of the dealings in Fassil, communicated on his social networks his decision to "leave the country for a while until the death is clarified" of the auditor.
"I, like many people, do not believe that (Colodro) committed suicide, but that he was doing his job in relation to this case and discovering perhaps more than we know so far," he said.
Colodro had his last public appearance on Friday to announce that from Monday they would begin to pay outstanding salaries to the workers of Banco Fassil.
At the end of last month, the government appointed an auditor at Fassil Bank for other financial institutions to take over customer deposits and "migrate" accounts and other services.
The ASFI attributed the crisis at Banco Fassil to the "bad practices of its executives and managers and, above all, the irregular management of the commercial and business businesses of the shareholders and directors of its business group."
For this reason, several of the main executives of the entity were criminally prosecuted and are imprisoned.
The Fassil crisis coincided with the lack of dollar liquidity in the Bolivian financial system a couple of months ago.
Source: AP and EFE