Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim announced Tuesday a former Honduran Cabinet member pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in fiscal transactions in property originated from drug trafficking offenses in 2013.
Forty-eight-year-old Yankel Rosenthal Coello provided financial services beginning in at least 2009 to several Honduran drug traffickers, which was associated mainly to real estate transactions. In 2013, he tried to launder more than a million dollars of illegal drug money from the Honduras drug traffickers, by utilizing his own credit to finance real estate in Doral, Florida, according to court records.
Rosenthal accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars, which he deemed campaign contributions, of bribe payments from those drug traffickers in exchange for official protection. The money was funneled to his co-defendant Yani Benjamin Rosenthal Hidalgo, also his cousin and utilized to fund his campaign to become President of Honduras, which failed, according to court documents.
Rosenthal invested hundreds of thousands of dollars of drug money in a Honduran soccer club, C.D. Marathon, which he controlled. He faces a 10-year imprisonment, if found guilty. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 12, 2018.