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Former first lady Rosa Bonilla of Honduras convicted of corruption

Former Honduran first lady Rosa Elena Bonilla de Lobo leaves court in 2019.
Former Honduran first lady Rosa Elena Bonilla leaves court in August 2019 after her conviction on corruption charges in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
(Elmer Martinez / Associated Press)
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A court in Honduras convicted former first lady Rosa Elena Bonilla of corruption Thursday for the second time.

Bonilla was sentenced to 58 years in prison in September 2019 for embezzling more than $1 million in government money between 2010 and 2014, when her husband, Porfirio Lobo, was president.

But the Supreme Court of Justice overturned her conviction six months later, citing procedural problems and ordering a new trial.

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On Thursday, that second trial resulted in a conviction too.

Honduras’ court system said via Twitter on Thursday that the court had unanimously convicted Bonilla of embezzlement and fraud. Her private secretary at the time, Saúl Escobar, was also convicted Thursday.

The court ordered them jailed while awaiting sentencing, which was scheduled for Monday.

“They were accused of appropriating public funds that were designated for social projects,” said Lucía Villars, spokeswoman for the court system.

The investigation that led to the charges had started with the Organization of American States anticorruption mission in Honduras.

According to prosecutors, Bonilla took some $480,000 from an account for the first lady’s office and deposited it in her personal account four days before Lobo left office. The defendants also allegedly took $650,000 from the office through checks written to nine front businesses between 2010 and 2014.

Bonilla was originally arrested in February 2018.

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