Arnoldo Alemán
Arnoldo Alemán
Twitter/@dw_espanol

The US State Department put former Nicaraguan President Arnoldo Alemán on a list of corrupt foreign officials Monday, barring him and his family from entering the United States.

Alemán has been dogged by accusations of embezzlement during his term from 1997 to 2002. After spending some time in jail in Nicaragua, he was eventually cleared of charges.

The designation announced Monday also applies to his wife, María Fernanda Flores Lanzas, and his two daughters and a son.

Flores Lanzas, who currently serves as a legislator in Nicaragua's National Assembly, told the Nicaragua Actual online news outlet that "this goes against US justice", claiming a US court found her husband innocent in 2008. She noted Alemán had his US travel visa taken away 16 years ago.

Alemán, 64, was sentenced to 20 years in jail for corruption in 2003, but in 2009 the country's supreme court found him innocent. He has denied any wrongdoing.

US officials who initially welcomed Aleman's election in 1997 were openly critical of him by the time he left office, alleging widespread corruption.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that "Aleman was involved in corrupt acts such as misappropriating millions of dollars of public funds for the benefit of himself and members of his family. While this designation is based on acts during his time in office, Aleman's corruption continues to reverberate in Nicaragua today."

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