CARACAS, Thursday September 10, 2009 | Update
Andorra has frozen bank accounts of people with close ties with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez as part of an investigation conducted by the US Treasury Department that started in Miami.
According to a report provided by El Nuevo Herald, the accounts could be linked to the financing of terrorist organizations.
On its front page, daily newspaper Diari d'Andorra, which is the main newspaper published in the Principality of Andorra, published in Catalan (www.diariandorra.ad), reported that officials of the Unit for the Prevention of Money Laundering (UPB) blocked the assets "after relevant inquiries and after certifying the existence of the accounts and the information received from the United States." Among the account holders, there would be "people relatively close to the Venezuelan leader," it reported.
According to the newspaper article, which cites official Andorran sources, there were "billions of US dollars of doubtful origins (in the Miami accounts) with possible links to the financing of terrorism." Among the organizations that could have benefitted from this assistance are the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC), the Islamic groups Hezbollah, Hamas and Al Qaida, Iran's Revolutionary Guard and the Basque separatist group ETA.
02:57 PM. HEAVY RAINS. Venezuelan Executive Vice-President Elias Jaua reported that the government is designing plans to support farmers, cattlemen and peasants of the state of Mérida who have been hit by heavy rains that have caused crop losses.