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Goldex CEO caught on bus in US$970m Colombia laundering case

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A manhunt for the chief executive officer of CI Goldex SA has ended after police captured John Hernandez on a public bus last night, according to Colombia's Attorney General's office.

[Bogota, COLOMBIA] A manhunt for the chief executive officer of CI Goldex SA has ended after police captured John Hernandez on a public bus last night, according to Colombia's Attorney General's office.

"He was captured while traveling with his wife in the province of Quindio," Luz Angela Bahamon, who headed the investigation, said in a telephone interview last night.

The AG's office alleges that Goldex is at the centre of a US$970 million (S$1.3 billion) money-laundering scheme, which they say is the biggest in the country's history. Colombia's cocaine traffickers, Marxist guerrillas and others launder about US$10 billion a year, equivalent to about 3 per cent of gross domestic product, according to the government's financial intelligence unit.

Colombian authorities spent three years investigating Goldex, once the nation's second-biggest gold exporter. In a September interview in his fortified gold foundry in Medellin, Hernandez said he had done nothing wrong.

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In e-mailed responses to questions in May, Goldex said it collaborated with investigators to show that all its exports were legitimate and it had had no contact with any illegal groups. Hernandez's cell phone number was disconnected.

BLOOMBERG

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