US embassy cable - 02TEGUCIGALPA2600

HONDURAS TRIES AN END RUN TO NAME CONSUL IN MOBILE; POST RECOMMENDS DEPARTMENT SAY NO TO GOH NOMINEE

Identifier: 02TEGUCIGALPA2600
Wikileaks: View 02TEGUCIGALPA2600 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Tegucigalpa
Created: 2002-09-16 17:18:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: CVIS PREL ASEC
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TEGUCIGALPA 002600 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
S/CPR for Eubanks, WHA/CEN for Trivelli and Lang, CA/VO 
for Barry 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: CVIS, PREL, ASEC 
SUBJECT: HONDURAS TRIES AN END RUN TO NAME CONSUL IN 
MOBILE; POST RECOMMENDS DEPARTMENT SAY NO TO GOH NOMINEE 
 
 
1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Post was notified on August 1, that the 
GOH was attempting to name U.S. legal permanent resident, 
Elena Maria Diaz Marinakys de Szydel, as Consul General 
of Honduras in Mobile, Alabama.  In addition to the fact 
that no Honduran Consulate currently exists in Mobile, 
Post has derogatory information concerning Mrs. Szydel's 
activities in Honduras during 2000 and 2001, when she was 
the dependent spouse the Area Engineer for the U.S. Army 
Corps of Engineers (USACE). We believe that her conduct 
during the time her husband was assigned to this Embassy 
should make her unacceptable as a Consul General and 
member of the Diplomatic Corps. END SUMMARY. 
 
2. (U) The proposed appointment came to Post's attention 
when a citizen and resident of Panama, Ana Isabel 
Pascual, applied for a visa on August 1, to work as a 
domestic employee for Elena Maria Diaz Marinakys in 
Mobile Alabama.  The same day, the Consular Section 
received a call from Honduran Vice President, Alberto 
Diaz Lobo.  Mr. Diaz Lobo said his daughter, Elena Maria 
Diaz Marinakys, had been appointed as the new Honduran 
Consul General in Mobile, Alabama and wanted to take the 
applicant to the U.S. as her domestic servant.  When 
informed that the Department of State had not given its 
permission for Honduras to open a Consulate in Mobile, 
Mr. Diaz said that there had been a Consul in Mobile for 
years and his daughter was simply replacing the old 
Consul. 
 
3. (U) Mrs. Marinakys later called the Consul General to 
ask for a special appointment for her maid because she 
was traveling with three small children and needed 
assistance.  She further said that the applicant had been 
working for her in the U.S. for the last year.  An 
examination of the applicant's passport indicated that 
she had been granted a B-1 visa in Tegucigalpa, on June 
11, 2001 annotated to read, " Personal or domestic 
servant travel only with the family of Kevin and Elena 
SZYDEL".  Her most recent trip to the U.S. had been from 
Feb. 19, 2002, until July 4, 2002. 
 
4. (U) It became apparent that Elena Szydel and Elena 
Maria Diaz Marinakys were one and the same.  On August 6, 
Ms. Marinakys again called the Consular Section to 
inquire about the visa.  She admitted that she was a 
Legal Permanent Resident of the U.S., living in Mobile, 
she was married to U.S. citizen, and all three of their 
children were American citizens.  She said the GOH was 
going through the process of getting Mobile approved for 
opening a Consulate and that she would then follow 
through to get a diplomatic visa for the applicant. 
 
5. (SBU) A group of USACE contractors, from Mobile, 
Alabama, including the Szydel family, were expelled from 
Honduras by the Ambassador in 2001.  As USACE contractors 
and direct employees of the Eterna Corporation, they 
committed gross financial irregularities, tax 
improprieties, customs violations, fraud, 
misrepresentation, malfeasance and misfeasance.  An 
investigation of their activities was conducted by the 
Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and the Inspector 
General of the U.S. Army.  The entire group of Eterna 
contractors, and the Szydel family in particular, were 
found to be deeply involved in questionable activities 
during their stay in Honduras.  Specifically, the Szydel 
family defrauded the USG by engaging in a rental 
reimbursement scheme.  They lived in a house owned by 
Mrs. Szydel's mother.  They lived there rent-free. 
However, they submitted vouchers and received 
reimbursements for rental expenses.  They shared the 
reimbursements with Mrs. Szydel's sister, who represented 
herself as owner of the property.  They committed fraud 
and abused their tax exempt status by importing a luxury 
automobile, a 2000 Lexus, for their personal use, while 
fraudulently describing it on shipping manifests as 
construction equipment.  They then imported a second 
vehicle for personal use by taking it to Panama, removing 
Mrs. Szydel's name, retitling it in her husband's name 
and bringing it back into the country exempt from 
taxation.   They ordered handmade furniture from a 
manufacturing firm owned by her father and charged it to 
the USG as as part of their household expenses.  All of 
these activities were discovered during the U.S. Army 
investigations.  Mr. Szydel was reprimanded and punished 
by the USACE.  Mrs. Szydel refused to cooperate with U.S. 
investigators and was not prosecuted under Honduran law. 
 
6. (U) Based on the the specific activities of Mrs. 
Szydel, and her active involvement in defrauding the U.S. 
Government, we request the Protocol office to find Elena 
Maria Diaz Marinakys de Szydel unacceptable to serve as a 
Consul General of Honduras in Mobile.  We also request 
that she be found unacceptable as a member of the 
Diplomatic Corps in the U.S. 
 
 
PIERCE 

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