Originally: Haitian prime minister rejects corruption allegations against cousin
On Thursday 23 December, Prime Minister Gerard Latortue came to the defence of his cousin Youri Latortue [other reports have referred to Youri as the prime minister’s nephew], who was blacklisted this week in an article in the French newspaper Le Figaro.
The head of government said that this attack is a roundabout way of getting at him in view of his integrity. Mr Latortue said that national and especially foreign sectors are behind this campaign. Mr Latortue, who said he does not take the Le Figaro article seriously, invites anyone who was reportedly a victim of his cousin’s attitude to tell him.
With regard to the 20,000 euros paid to Youri Latortue every month for taking care of the Office of the Prime Minister’s Intelligence Service, the prime minister stressed that no-one knows how much foreign embassies in the country pay for information. Then he added that several key ministries ought to have their own budget for that.
For his part, in a denial, Youri Latortue laid down to anyone “a challenge to prove my involvement in any case whatsoever of [taking a] percentage and corruption”.
An article by Thierry Oberle in Le Figaro on 21 December portrayed Youri Latortue as the interim government’s strongman. In an article entitled “Drug traffickers help themselves to Haiti”, the journalist said that “at a lower level, the virtuous Gerard Latortue must, for his part, face his critics. He is blamed for retaining in his entourage his nephew, Youri Latortue, a person nicknamed ‘Mister 30 Per Cent’ because of the percentage he demands in return for favours. Worried, not without reason, about his own security, the prime minister pays 20,000 euros a month to this former police officer implicated in various scandals for ‘organizing an intelligence service’.”