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Who is Yadira Leets and what does she know about the Ortega Murillo’s business?

In October 2009, in the Mercantile Registry of Granada, a lawyer, an engineer and a real estate broker were registered as the new members of the board of directors of the Nicaraguan Petroleum Distributor (DNP). Those registered were José María Enríquez (800 shares), José Mojica Mejía (100 shares) and Aura Cecilia Toruño (100 shares).

In the registration document of this company, the composition of the board of directors was also established and its members created a very general power so that the DNP would be administered with complete autonomy by Yadira Julieta Leets Marín, at that time the wife of Rafael Ortega Murillo, eldest son. of President Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo.

In this way, the so-called Return Operation of the DNP took shape, documented in research published by CONFIDENTIAL in June 2015, detailing how the Ortega Murillo family started in the business of importing and distributing fuels through control of the oil company, which became the largest importer of hydrocarbons in Nicaragua, until it was hit by US sanctions, in December 2019.

With the DNP, the Ortega Murillo family made use of the millionaire resources generated by the oil agreement with Venezuela, administered discretionally and without transparency by Ortega. There were 5 billion dollars, according to the records of the Central Bank of Nicaragua, which entered Nicaragua from 2007 to 2016, when the flow of the oil agreement began to wane due to the collapse of the Chavista economy.

It was with this money that the Ortega operators forced the departure of the Glencore consortium from Nicaragua, which leased the assets of the DNP. According to a document CONFIDENTIAL had access in 2015, Glencore’s assets in Nicaragua were valued at a little over 62 million dollars, not including income from the sale of fuel at the gas station network.

When CONFIDENTIAL consulted José María Enríquez in 2015 about the handing over of the generalissimo power to Leets Marín and what his relationship with her was, he replied annoyed: “How do you know that he is from the presidential family? Doña Yadira is Doña Yadira! can’t she work in a company then? I can’t give you a statement”, and then abruptly cut off the call.

José María Enríquez and José Mojica Mejía are two well-known figureheads of Ortega, involved in several of the companies of the family in power. Mojica Mejía was even sanctioned by the United States Department of the Treasury, together with one of its main businesses: the company Syditeck Mundo Digital, located in Altamira.

Yadira Leets and the start of the Ortega Murillo business network

The inclusion of Yadira Leets Marín as the administrator and signatory of the DNP fuel supply contracts represented the beginning of the involvement of the members of the Ortega Murillo family in different private businesses that flourished mainly due to their supply agreements to the State.

Yadira Leets Marín was also in charge of Inversiones Zanzibar, the company created by Ortega operators to manage the gas station network that distributes fuels imported by the DNP.

In addition, in 2015, Yadira Leets Marín was the president of CODISA, a company made up of the Sandino, La Tuani, Futura, Clásica and Viva FM radio stations.

An investigation of CONFIDENTIAL published on February 20, 2022revealed the existence of 22 private companies, on behalf of 18 business executives and five lawyers —all close to the presidential family— that are part of a business network that grew exponentially after Ortega returned to power, underpinned by the private appropriation of the millionaire state aid from Venezuela.

In this scheme, Yadira Leets Marín came to appear as a shareholder or director in five of these companies linked to the Ortega and Murillo family.

This Monday, May 9, The newspaper La Prensa reported that Yadira Leets Marín and her daughters Ariana and Libia Ortega Leets left the country since January and that they had “no intention of returning to Nicaragua.”

According to the La Prensa report, the departure of Leets Marín and her daughters was approved by Rosario Murillo, despite the fact that she has been separated from Rafael Ortega Murillo since 2019 and was due to “internal and quiet discomfort between several members of the family.”

The blow of US sanctions

Rafael Ortega Murillo is a businessman and acts as a liaison in the Government’s relations with Venezuela and Cuba, in addition to being the main financial operator in the oil business of the family that has governed Nicaragua since January 2007.

In December 2019, then-US Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin, announced economic sanctions against Rafael Ortega, whom he described as the key administrator of the “illicit financial scheme” of the Nicaraguan regime. The US authorities also sanctioned the DNP and Inversiones Zanzibar.

The sanctions forced the closure of the gas station network managed by Inversiones Zanzibar. Some have managed to reopen under the “white flag” concept, that is, they operate independently of a large fuel import company.

Leets was manager of the DNP until 2018. In December 2019, the DNP had to be rescued by the Ortega regime to avoid its collapse, due to sanctions. Making use of its deputies and its collaborator allies in the National Assembly, the DNP was nationalized and its assets became managed by the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

After the sanctions, the role of Yadira Leets Marín as business administrator for the Ortega Murillo family was diminishing. She ceased to appear as the signatory of the fuel supply contracts from the DNP to state entities.

She also began to disassociate herself from all the businesses of the Ortega Murillo family in which she was involved, while her marriage to Rafael Ortega also foundered in 2019. According to the newspaper’s report the pressAmong one of the reasons given for his departure, it would also be that the family “would be preparing for harsher conditions to come.”

We recommend you read the CONFIDENCIAL investigation:

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