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Former Haitian Senate President Youri Latortue arrives to the court house in Port-au-Prince on July 12, 2021. Prosecutors have requested that high-profile politicians meet officials for questioning as part of the investigation into the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.Joseph Odelyn/The Associated Press

A key Haitian cabinet minister says investigators are scrutinizing both the country’s oligarchs and presidential bodyguards as they seek to unravel the plot behind the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

Elections Minister Mathias Pierre told The Globe and Mail that Christian Emmanuel Sanon, the Florida-based doctor accused of ordering 28 commandos to storm Mr. Moïse’s private home, was only a middleman between the killing’s real masterminds and the gunmen who carried it out.

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“He was paid by certain local people here,” Mr. Pierre alleged during an interview on Monday at his office in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Pétion-Ville. “Very soon, the police and the investigation will tell the truth about it. He hired the mercenaries to execute the task.”

Dr. Sanon is also connected to a Canadian NGO reportedly created to perform development work in the Caribbean country.

Corporate records show he was vice-president of UNIHA, a charity registered in Laval, Quebec, in 2017. His address was listed as a house in Pétion-Ville, roughly a kilometre from Mr. Moïse’s home. The charity was dissolved in 2018.

Dr. Sanon, who divided his time between Florida and his native Haiti, was arrested over the weekend. Haitian authorities say he planned to seize the presidency for himself after taking down Mr. Moïse.

Mr. Pierre suggested that the trail of evidence in the murder will ultimately lead to the powerful families that control major businesses in Haiti. Mr. Moïse had tried to renegotiate or cancel their government contracts, and in some cases nationalized their assets.

“Moïse has been fighting what he called the oligarchs. He was trying to remove control from some powerful groups of interests in this country, and give more power to the government,” Mr. Pierre said. “I think the assassination of the president was the result of his belief and his ideology, and those who were fighting him were in a position to put an end to his life.”

Mr. Pierre referred to the electricity, building and banking sectors as places where Mr. Moïse tried to break the power of vested interests. He also cited the late president’s efforts to curb the practice of lending big businesses large sums of money from the country’s pension fund, the Office Nationale D’Assurance Viellesse (ONA).

Prosecutor Bed-Ford Claude has summoned several business and political leaders for questioning. These include Jean Marie Vorbe and Dimitri Vorbe, whose electricity plants were taken over by Mr. Moïse’s government, and Réginald Boulos, a banking and grocery store magnate who borrowed money from the ONA.

The Vorbes and Mr. Boulos did not respond to requests for comment.

Dr. Sanon, by comparison, does not appear to have been particularly wealthy. He set up more than 20 companies in Florida over two decades, including medical services and real estate businesses, but filed for bankruptcy protection in 2013.

In court documents related to the bankruptcy, Dr. Sanon listed his annual income as US$60,000, from the New Hope Cancer Center in Port-au-Prince and Organization Rome Haiti, an NGO providing housing and medical equipment. Dr. Sanon disclosed assets of US$185,000 against debts of US$430,000. He lost his house in Bradenton, Fla., to bank foreclosure.

In the documents, Dr. Sanon said that he also owned a television station in Haiti and served as pastor at an evangelical church in the country, and had further business interests in the Dominican Republic.

Rémy Joshua Césaire, a Montreal-area man listed as UNIHA’s CEO, told La Presse that Dr. Sanon was one of the charity’s founders. The plan was to build a hospital and university in Haiti, but it never got off the ground, the newspaper said. Dr. Sanon travelled to Montreal at one point for a meeting related to the organization.

“He worked in politics. I believe there was a political party in Haiti that wanted him to become its candidate in the elections, for the presidency,” La Presse quoted Mr. Césaire as saying of Dr. Sanon.

Haitian police have said they started looking into Dr. Sanon almost immediately after the attack. According to their account, when officers surrounded mercenaries fleeing the home, the men began dialling Dr. Sanon’s number. Among the gunmen were 26 Colombians and two Haitian-Americans, including James Solages, a former bodyguard at the Canadian embassy in Port-au-Prince.

A raid on Dr. Sanon’s house turned up 20 boxes of bullets, gun parts and a hat from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, according to Haitian authorities. Videos that appear to show the hit squad arriving at Mr. Moïse’s home include a man, alleged to be Mr. Solages, announcing “this is a DEA operation” through a bullhorn. The DEA has denied any involvement in the killing.

Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau spoke via video conference Monday with Haitian Prime Minister Claude Joseph. Mr. Joseph’s office said Mr. Garneau promised Canadian support for Haitian police “in the fight against insecurity.”

Officials from the U.S. departments of Justice and Homeland Security, and the FBI, met in Port-au-Prince Sunday with police chief Léon Charles.

Mr. Pierre said he hoped the FBI’s involvement would help allay doubts about the investigation. Haitians are increasingly questioning the police’s official narrative of the attack, particularly the notion that the mercenaries were able to breach the president’s bedroom without any interference from his bodyguards.

Mr. Pierre said the heads of three police units responsible for protecting Mr. Moïse have been placed on administrative leave and are being interrogated by Mr. Charles. These are Dimitri Hérard, Léandre Pierre Osman and Paul Addy Amazan. A fourth man, presidential security coordinator Jean Laguel Civil, has been subpoenaed by Mr. Claude, the prosecutor.

Colombian police said over the weekend that Mr. Hérard had frequently travelled to the country.

Mr. Pierre, meanwhile, said the government was just as incredulous as everyone that there had apparently been no fight between the assassins and Mr. Moïse’s security, leaving the president unprotected as his killers closed in.

“On our side, we didn’t believe it,” he said. “Not a gunshot.”

With a report from Stephanie Chambers in Toronto.

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