HomeNewsBriefArgentina Advances Laundering Case Against Pablo Escobar’s Wife, Son
BRIEF

Argentina Advances Laundering Case Against Pablo Escobar’s Wife, Son

ARGENTINA / 6 JUN 2018 BY TRISTAN CLAVEL EN

The widow and son of the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar as well as a former soccer star are accused of participating in a money laundering scheme in Argentina involving another powerful Colombian crime boss, underlining Argentine authorities’ efforts to address the country’s persistent attractiveness for foreign criminals.

Federal Judge Morón Néstor Barral determined on June 4 that there is sufficient evidence to allow a money laundering case to proceed against Escobar's widow María Isabel Santos Caballero and her son Sebastián Marroquín.

Barral agreed with the prosecution’s accusations that Escobar’s widow and son “provided essential support" for an operation that laundered millions of dollars in illicit proceeds belonging to José Piedrahita Ceballos, a suspected long-time drug trafficker who was arrested last year and is currently in Colombian custody facing extradition to the United States.

Authorities believe that Escobar’s relatives were the ones to introduce Piedrahita to Mateo Corvo Dolcet, a prominent Argentine lawyer involved a number of real estate affairs, and the main figure among Piedrahita’s alleged Argentine frontmen.

“As a result, Corvo Dolcet rewarded Marroquín Santos and Santos Caballero with a commission of 4.5 percent of the total investment realized,” authorities allege.

This is not the first time Escobar’s family, exiled in Argentina since the mid-1990s, has been accused of laundering drug proceeds. In 1999, similar charges were raised by Argentine authorities against Santos, before being eventually dropped.

The case has also ensnared Mauricio "Chicho" Serna, a former Colombian soccer star who played for Buenos Aires' Boca Juniors club for some time.

Despite the accusations, Santos and Marroquín remain far from a formal conviction, as Argentina’s legal process for prosecuting crimes -- in the midst of reform -- has many stages and many opportunities for appeal.

InSight Crime Analysis

The charges against Escobar's relatives serve as a reminder of Argentina’s longstanding reputation as a safe haven for foreign criminals looking to wash their dirty money. Relatively lax enforcement of immigration controls and financial activities are attractive features for criminals like Piedrahita, who exemplified an emerging generation of drug traffickers in Colombia called the “invisibles” for their tendency to adopt low-profile, non-violent ways of conducting illicit business.

SEE ALSO: Argentina News and Profile

But the case is also a positive sign that Argentine authorities are continuing to crack down on money laundering. Ramped up anti-laundering efforts began under the previous presidential administration, which undertook a gradual strengthening of financial controls to bring Argentina in line with international standards. If successful, high-profile cases like the one involving Escobar's relatives will send a message that these efforts are paying off.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARGENTINA / 9 NOV 2015

Argentina is investigating a judge for pardoning and releasing drug traffickers in exchange for bribes, echoing similar scandals elsewhere in…

MEXICO / 19 MAY 2011

U.S. authorities celebrated the confiscation of more than a million dollars in cash along the Mexican border, unwittingly illustrating the…

MONEY LAUNDERING / 10 MAR 2020

A new report says that Panama remains a nation of “particular concern” when it comes to financial secrecy and money…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…