Bolivia arrests ex-official in IMF loan deal investigation



LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) – The Bolivian government has arrested a former Treasury ministry official in connection with an investigation into an International Monetary Fund loan that new President Luís Arce has waived.

Former deputy minister Carlos Schlink was arrested on Tuesday as he tried to leave the country, according to prosecutor Manuel Saavedra. Three former treasury ministers are also under investigation.

Schlink served under former interim president Jeanine ñez, who was herself detained for sedition. The Tory took over the presidency in 2018 after President Evo Morales was forced to resign amid protests against his re-election and stepped down after Morales’s left-wing party won the election last year.

Áñez struck a deal with the IMF for a $ 327 million loan to deal with the COVID-19 emergency, but Arce denounced the deal and returned the money, alleging it imposed financial conditions in the country. such conditions.

Schlink’s lawyer Audalia Zurita said her client “was not involved in the signing of loans.”

Justice Minister Iván Lima said last month that the need to repay the loan caused financial damage.

Opposition figures have accused the government of “judicial persecution” over ñez’s arrest of around 20 other former officials. His own government had faced similar charges when it tried to prosecute Morales and several of his key aides.

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