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At trial, Noriega claims Panama drug money a US-run ‘imaginary banking scheme’

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AFP
June 30, 2010

Panama’s ex-dictator Manuel Noriega on Tuesday dismissed charges of laundering drug money as an “imaginary banking scheme” concocted by the United States as he took the stand in a French court.

The 76-year-old general denied taking payments from Colombian drug lords in the 1980s and told a Paris courtroom that cash deposits transferred to French banks came from his legitimate businesses and the CIA.

“I say with much humility and respect that this is an imaginary banking scheme,” Noriega told the court in Spanish through his interpreter on the second day of his trial.

“I will have the opportunity to produce documents that show that I was a victim of a conspiracy mounted by the United States against me,” he said.

Noriega, who ruled Panama from 1983 to 1989, spent 20 years in a Miami cell for drug trafficking and money laundering and now faces the prospect of another decade in a French prison if convicted.

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This article was posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 8:04 am





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