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(Reuters) - The head of a Miami-based security firm that hired the Colombian bodyguards suspected of killing Haiti's president denied involvement in his death, saying on Wednesday he had been tricked and that the president's own guards were to blame.
President Jovenel Moise was killed last month at his home in Port-au-Prince, and a group of former soldiers from Colombia were arrested in the attack.
Haitian officials said Antonio Intriago's company, CTU, Security had hired the former soldiers, which he indirectly confirmed in a statement issued through his lawyers in Miami.
"Mr. Intriago had no knowledge of and no part in the tragic events," his attorneys at Lacayo Law Firm said, marking Intriago's first public remarks on the matter.
According to the statement, Intriago believed that his "unarmed security contractors" had been hired as personal guards in Haiti, but that there was a last-minute change of plans and the men were asked to serve an arrest warrant on Moise.
Intriago's lawyers attached the warrant with their statement. The warrant was signed by a judge and dated February 2019.
"When they entered the presidential residence, they found the president deceased, his wife wounded, and the house ransacked," the statement said. "It is our belief that the president's own bodyguards betrayed him."
"Mr. Intriago was the victim of an elaborate scheme," it said, arguing the contractors had "no part" in Moise's killing.
In Colombia, families and colleagues of Intriago's hires have told reporters the men were hired to act as bodyguards.
(Reporting by Chris Prentice and Daina Beth Solomon. Editing by Gerry Doyle)