Colombia declares state of emergency over financial scams

Colombian officials declared a state of emergency Nov. 19, boosting their powers of arrest and money seizure to help deal with multimillion-dollar investment scams that have targeted mostly poor investors. President Álvaro Uribe’s office said the measure was taken because of a “serious deterioration in public order” in connection with “massive illegal collection of public funds.”

Police closed 59 offices of DMG, among the largest of dozens of several companies under investigation. Fifty-two employees of the firms have been arrested, and $30 million confiscated. Violent disturbances broke out in 12 of Colombia’s departments, and investors stormed offices in the southern cites of Pasto (Nariño department) and Popayan (Cauca), threatening to lynch the managers. (Irish Times, Nov. 19)

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