July 4, 2020

The Prosecutor's Office opens an investigation into a laundering scheme that links Cartes

The Paraguayan Prosecutor announced on Tuesday an investigation into the folder opened in Brazil to former President Horacio Cartes (2013-2018) based on his alleged connection with a crime of money laundering, within a branch of the Lava Jato plot.

Cartes is also investigated in Brazil for allegedly having helped Darío Messer, his personal friend and considered the "biggest moneymaker in Brazil," with an economic sum.

Messer was arrested in Sao Paulo last July, it is suspected that after remaining hidden in Paraguay.

Following this investigation, the Brazilian Prosecutor's Office ordered an arrest warrant against Cartes last month, but this Friday the Supreme Court temporarily revoked that measure by admitting the habeas corpus presented by the ex-plaintiff's lawyers.

Before that action, the lawyers had presented a letter of Cartes to the State Attorney General, Sandra Quiñónez, in which he showed his availability to be investigated in Paraguay of these accusations.

The defense of Cartes claims the principle of territoriality and argues that Brazil does not have any jurisdiction for criminal acts committed in Paraguay.

The announcement of the Public Prosecutor's Office today comes days after several fiscal agents of that entity moved to Brazil to know in detail the folder of the investigation carried out by the Prosecutor's Office and the Federal Police of that country.

The Paraguayan Prosecutor's Office said in a statement that the investigation includes alleged acts of criminal association, frustration with criminal prosecution, money laundering and aggravated passive bribery.

Messer was pointed out as the alleged leader of a network dedicated to money laundering and currency evasion, which in recent years mobilized about 1.6 billion dollars in 52 countries and through some 3,000 "offshore" companies, according to the Prosecutor’s Office Brazilian.

The Brazilian Public Ministry also suspects that these resources could be used to finance "crimes such as cigarette smuggling, drug trafficking and arms trafficking."

The case was uncovered in May 2018 in an operation in Brazil with several arrests, not Messer's, who was fugitive until his arrest this July.

During that time he was investigated and charged with money laundering in Paraguay, where he lived since 1993.

In turn, Congress formed a Bicameral Research Commission (CBI) on Messer's movements in Paraguay, which resulted in a non-binding report.

In the same it was assured that there was support from the instances of power to the illegal activities of the money exchange in Paraguay.

The IWC also recommended to the Prosecutor to investigate Cartes and 16 other people, including members of his Cabinet as former Minister of Finance Santiago Peña.

. (tagsToTranslate) Fiscalia (t) investigation (t) washing (t) links (t) Letters

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