Attorney General of the United States Visits the Dominican Republic, Meets with President Fernandez and Signs an Agreement with his Dominican Counterp

Santo Domingo – The Embassy of the United States of America is pleased to announce the visit of the Attorney General of the United States, Eric H. Holder, Jr., who during his two-day stay in the country met with the President; signed an agreement with the Attorney General of the Dominican Republic, Radhames Jimenez Peña; and gave a keynote address in the Caryatid Room of the National Palace before an audience made up of a large group of representatives of the most diverse sectors of the country.

U.S. Attorney General Holder arrived in country Monday, November 14. His first official visit was to the headquarters of the Attorney General of the Republic where he was received by his Dominican counterpart, Dr. Radhames Jimenez Peña.

Accompanied by the Ambassador of the United States, Raul Yzaguirre, during the meeting the U.S. and Dominican Attorneys General spoke about the solid relationship that exists between the Dominican Republic and the United States in the area of law and security. Likewise, they touched on issues related to human rights, citizen safety, corruption, and regional cooperation, as well as effective ways to combat narcotrafficking and organized crime.

Immediately after the meeting, Attorneys General Holder and Jimenez Peña proceeded to sign an agreement where the United States committed to sharing approximately US$7.5 million from assets seized with the Office of the Attorney General of the Dominican Republic. The seized assets are from Benitez brothers Carlos, Jose and Luis Manuel, Cuban-Americans accused of defrauding the U.S. Medicare system for millions of dollars.  The Benitez brothers invested part of this money in buildings and other assets in the Dominican Republic.

The decision to share these assets was due to the excellent support and cooperation that the Dominican Attorney General’s Office provided in locating, confiscating and seizing the Benitez brothers’ possessions and assets.

Likewise, the Attorneys General say they are currently working on and negotiating the final details of a permanent agreement for the repatriation of assets for future cases that may arise involving the United States and the Dominican Republic. It is expected that the agreement will be finalized soon.

VISIT TO PRESIDENT LEONEL FERNANDEZ

On the evening of Monday, November 14, Attorney General Holder met with President Leonel Fernandez in the National Palace.  Upon the conclusion of his meeting with the Dominican leader, the U.S. Attorney General gave a keynote address entitled, “Progress Through Partnership: the Importance of International Judicial Cooperation between the Dominican Republic and the United States in Advancing Joint Law Enforcement and Public Security Goals.”

The speech was delivered in the Caryatid Room, before a large audience made up of high-level civil servants, Dominican military officials, representatives of the Judicial and Legislative branches, as well as representatives of the most diverse sectors of Dominican national life. The U.S. Attorney General spoke about the importance of regional cooperation in confronting threats, the fight against corruption at all levels of the government, and the importance of securing human rights.

At the conclusion of the speech, President Fernandez held a private dinner at the Palace in honor of Attorney General Holder.

MEETING WITH CIVIL SOCIETY REPRESENTATIVES

On Tuesday, November 15, the final day of his visit to the Republic, Attorney General Holder met with representatives of various Dominican civil society organizations at the Embassy. He emphasized the need for cooperation with civil society, community members, police, prosecutors and other law enforcement agencies in order to improve citizen security. The Attorney General also discussed the judicial sector, government corruption, and human rights. Representatives of Participación Ciudadana, Fundación Institucionalidad y Justicia (FINJUS), Asociación Nacional de Jóvenes Empresarios (ANJE) and Mujeres en Desarrollo participated in the meeting.

Eric H. Holder
Attorney General of the United States of America
Biography

Eric H. Holder, Jr. was sworn in as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States on February 3, 2009 by Vice President Joe Biden. President Barack Obama announced his intention to nominate Mr. Holder on December 1, 2008.

In 1997, Mr. Holder was named by President Clinton to be the Deputy Attorney General, the first African-American named to that post. Prior to that he served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. In 1988, Mr. Holder was nominated by President Reagan to become an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

Mr. Holder, a native of New York City, attended public schools there, graduating from Stuyvesant High School where he earned a Regents Scholarship. He attended Columbia College, majored in American History, and graduated in 1973. He graduated from Columbia Law School in 1976.

While in law school, he clerked at the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund and the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division. Upon graduating, he moved to Washington and joined the Department of Justice as part of the Attorney General’s Honors Program. He was assigned to the newly formed Public Integrity Section in 1976 and was tasked to investigate and prosecute official corruption on the local, state and federal levels.

Prior to becoming Attorney General, Mr. Holder was a litigation partner at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington.

Mr. Holder lives in Washington with his wife, Dr. Sharon Malone, a physician, and their three children.