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Ortega confiscates assets of business executive Piero Coen

Declared a “traitor” and “stateless” in a lightning trial in March, the business magnate has now been stripped of his properties by the Ortega regime

Piero Coen Ubilla

El empresario nicaragüense Piero Coen Nicaraguan businessman Piero Coen Ubilla, president of “Grupo Coen.” Photo from Coen Group website.

Redacción Confidencial

25 de junio 2023


Businessman Piero Coen Ubilla was declared guilty of “treason” in a simulated mock trial at the end of March 2023, and then stripped of his Nicaraguan nationality, confirmed three different sources linked to Nicaragua’s business sector.

In accordance with the judge’s sentence, which has been kept secret, the government has proceeded to carry out the seizure of all Coen’s real estate properties, along with his shares in the societies he was invested in, revealed a source close to Coen. The businessman himself was not present in the country, and has never been officially notified of the legal process against him.

The illegal confiscation of the assets belonging to the former Grupo Coen CEO was carried out in an expedited manner beginning in early April 2023. At that time, the government took over his shares in over 50 properties listed on the public property registry, as well as his shares in a number of agricultural and real estate companies.

On Friday morning, June 23, dozens of officials from the Nicaraguan National Police searched Piero Coen’s personal residence in Managua’s Las Colinas  neighborhood, while the Attorney General’s office took possession of the building in the name of the State, thus formalizing the confiscation.

However, Coen Ubilla’s residence belongs to a company that Jaffa Coen, Peiro Coen’s wife, co-owns, with 50% of the shares. Jaffa Coen is a US citizen, and as such is being illegally confiscated.

Almost simultaneously, four police patrol cars and several agents on motorcycles arrived at Piero Coen  former offices in the residential complex Viejo Santo Domingo. There, too, the Attorney General’s office proceeded to confiscate the property.

Confidencial attempted to reach Piero Coen to hear his version of the confiscation, but received no response to their inquiry. A source linked to Coen revealed that he and his wife have been out of Nicaragua since the middle of 2021.

Vengeance and vindictiveness

“The attack against Piero Coen is a vindictive reprisal linked to three things: First, Ortega hasn’t forgiven Coen for being one of the few business leaders to show his face in the April 2018 demonstrations, and who spoke publicly about the urgent need for democratic change,” stated a business consultant who asked to withhold his name.

“Secondly,” the source continued, “the regime is paying him back for the fact that the Coen Group refused to give in to the legal blackmailing that Ortega-allied boxer El Chocolatito Gonzalez attempted against him.” The boxer sued the business conglomerate for supposed failure to fulfill a publicity contract and demanded a million-dollar settlement, despite the fact that it was the unsuccessful boxer who had violated the contract.

“Third, they confiscated Piero Coen in order to intimidate other big businesspeople. While they confiscate his properties in dribs and drabs, they’re frightening large capital holders with what could happen to them. In the end, people add and subtract, and know that Ortega takes revenge and punishes those who show patriotism,” the consultant concluded.

Vista general del complejo residencial “Viejo Santo Domingo”, donde estaba la oficina de Piero Coen confiscada por el régimen. Foto: Tomada de Facebook del residencial

What Coen said in 2018

In an interview he offered Confidencial in May 2018, Coen was the first major business owner to advocate for a “rapid,” “peaceful,” and “constitutional” way out of the political, economic and social crisis that had engulfed the country since the April (2018) Rebellion exploded. At the same time, he questioned the government’s “authoritarian” response, that had “gotten out of control,” causing – at that moment – at least 76 deaths.

Coen considered the situation very difficult, provoking political, economic, and social damage. In political terms, he stated: “the people are demanding justice, independent institutions and democracy,” and indicated that these demands would be obtained with a change of government. Meanwhile, in the social area, he said: “unemployment, beyond its economic damage, provokes worry and stress in families. The emotional cost, which no one has stopped to value, will take a long time to heal.”

In the interview, Coen detailed that the economic effects were manifested in investment, tourism, exports and “unemployment, that grows day by day. The banks are pulling back on their credits and services for fear of the current situation; as a result, the repercussions will increase in proportion to the time this situation is prolonged.”

Coen, whose business interests included finance, agro-industry, cattle-raising, agriculture, real estate and ID solutions, was also victimized at that time when groups of land invaders occupied a farm and sugar cane plantation he owned some 9 miles out of Chinandega. The invaders set fire to nearly 62 acres, with the aim of “damaging the harvests,”

That was only part of the 2,611 acres of Coen Group land that was invaded by irregular armed land squatters, especially the farm called “Holland,” where the business group had planned to construct an agro-industrial plant. They also invaded “Apastepe,” a 593.5-acre farm that included precious woods and avocado trees. “They’ve stolen and sold the production,” from that farm, Coen reported in the May 2018 interview.

The Chinandega Maracuya Company (Chimaco) had been set up there, a project that involved an investment of US $19 million dollars to plant 2,965 acres in maracuya (known as “passion fruit” in the US) and which was estimated would offer employment to 1,500 people. ProNicaragua, the government Agency for the Promotion of Investments and Exports, had declared it the “project of the year” and had entered it in the Global Investment Award contest in Dubai, where it obtained second place.

Damages to the Coen patrimony also include the invasion of valuable properties along the Jean Paul Genie avenue in Managua.

This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times.


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Redacción Confidencial

Redacción Confidencial

Confidencial es un diario digital nicaragüense, de formato multimedia, fundado por Carlos F. Chamorro en junio de 1996. Inició como un semanario impreso y hoy es un medio de referencia regional con información, análisis, entrevistas, perfiles, reportajes e investigaciones sobre Nicaragua, informando desde el exilio por la persecución política de la dictadura de Daniel Ortega y Rosario Murillo.