PANAMA CITY – Colombian Hernando Velez Uribe, the head of the Latin American Confederation of Savings and Credit Cooperatives, or Colac, was found dead on Sunday inside a vehicle submerged in the Chagres River in Panama City, the Panamanian Public Ministry told EFE.
A government official said that Velez’s body was found in the rear seat of the luxury SUV with a seatbelt around his neck, “and so it is presumed that the cause of death was asphyxia by strangulation.”
He added that Velez was gagged and had his hands and legs bound.
The death was confirmed by one of Velez’s work colleagues at Colac, the source said.
He said that the body of the 65-year-old Velez was removed from the vehicle at 11:40 a.m. by Panamanian forensic authorities.
Personnel with Sinaproc, Panama’s Civil Protection agency, were able to pull the vehicle from the water using steel cables fastened to their trucks.
“On Monday, Public Ministry officials will continue with their work to gather information and identify the author or authors of the deed, along with the motive for the murder,” the source added.
Velez had headed the Panama-based Colac for three years after a long career in Colombia in the national and international financial sector.