Former Haitian Justice Ministry official Joseph Felix Badio was a key player in the assassination of Haiti’s president, according to Colombia’s National Police Chief.
Gen. Jorge Vargas claimed in an edited video provided to media outlets that newly obtained information from the ongoing investigation led Colombian authorities to believe Badio told two Colombians suspected of involvement in the assassination attempt on President Jovenel Moise.
Vargas offered no evidence to back up these allegations against Badio, instead stating that the information came from a joint commission of Colombian and Haitian investigators.
Moise was assassinated last Wednesday at his private residence, plunging Haiti into political chaos, with multiple candidates vying for the presidency.
At least 26 Colombians, some of whom were former members of the Colombian military, were hired through a Florida-based security firm, according to authorities.
When the video was taken, there were no reporters in the room to question the Colombian police chief.
Mathias Pierre, Haiti’s elections minister, told CNN on Friday that Badio “is effectively in the heart of the assassination, but we believe he is working for big fishes. The intellectual masterminds are bigger than that. Who financed the operation is still the big question mark.”
On Friday, Haitian officials, including acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph and Police Chief Leon Charles, held a press conference in which they made no mention of Badio or Colombia’s allegations.
According to a statement released by the Haitian government’s Anti-Corruption Unit on July 13, Badio was fired from his position on May 17th.
He was fired, according to the statement, for serious professional misconduct. The statement also mentioned a complaint against Badio that was filed on May 20, but it didn’t say what the complaint was about.
According to CNN, the prosecutor’s office in Port-au-Prince issued an arrest warrant for Badio on Sunday. The warrant said Badio is accused of murder and armed robbery against President Moise. Badio is accused of murder and armed robbery against President Moise, according to the warrant.
According to a source familiar with the investigation, the FBI began holding interviews in Port-au-Prince on Friday as part of the investigation into President Moise’s assassination.
On Monday, the Justice Department said it will “investigate whether there were any violations of US criminal law” in connection with the plot to assassinate Moise. The investigation has been kept under wraps by Haitian authorities, but the growing number of Florida connections to the plot suggests that it was at least partially planned in the United States.