HomeNewsBriefParaguay President's 'Soul Brother' Could Surrender in Laundering Case
BRIEF

Paraguay President's 'Soul Brother' Could Surrender in Laundering Case

BRAZIL / 23 MAY 2018 BY MIKE LASUSA EN

A friend of Paraguay's president accused of leading a large, international money laundering scheme has reportedly offered to turn himself in to authorities. But his apparent willingness to cooperate may be a smokescreen for an effort to avoid facing justice.

Dario Messer, a Brazilian businessman and financial operator who is a naturalized citizen of Paraguay, has reportedly offered to surrender to face money laundering charges in Paraguay, according to sources who spoke to Última Hora.

Messer, whom Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes has described as his "soul brother," was charged with money laundering in Paraguay on May 8 following a series of raids targeting companies he owns.

SEE ALSO: Paraguay News and Profile

The charges in Paraguay came days after authorities in neighboring Brazil on May 3 accused Messer of leading a multicountry money laundering operation that handled more than $1.6 billion since 2003. News outlets report that Brazilian authorities are investigating more than 400 of Messer's clients, including individuals linked to corruption.

Brazilian authorities have requested Messer's extradition. On May 23, Paraguay's Supreme Court stripped Messer of his naturalized Paraguayan citizenship, which could facilitate his extradition.

InSight Crime Analysis

On its face, Messer's reported willingness to turn himself over to Paraguayan authorities may appear to be a good-faith gesture suggesting he will cooperate with the judicial actions against him. However, when examined more closely, the move appears to be an attempt to submit himself to Paraguayan justice in the hope that he can secure lenient treatment there, and potentially avoid being sent to Brazil, where he would likely face a much more aggressive prosecution.

Messer's close friendship with Cartes could give him some political cover as he faces the case against him in Paraguay. Cartes, who has been accused of involvement in various crimes including cigarette contraband and drug trafficking, has not been known to aggressively pursue people close to him allegedly involved in illicit activities. In fact, a number of his close allies have been accused of links to crime.

SEE ALSO: InDepth Coverage of Elites and Organized Crime

Moreover, a relative of Cartes has also been implicated in the Messer case, giving the Paraguayan president added incentive to pull whatever levers he can to ensure leniency for the accused.

At the same time, Cartes has been spending significant political capital on an effort to get Congress to accept his early resignation from office so that he can take a seat in the Senate. Questions surrounding Cartes' possible involvement in the Messer case have held up that process, suggesting the lame-duck president's ability to help his friends may be somewhat reduced.

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

HOMICIDES / 16 FEB 2022

Brazen killings by hired gunmen have not only shaken Paraguay recently but shined a light on the growing use of…

BRAZIL / 16 MAR 2022

Rocco Morabito’s story has all the makings of a great film script. The Italian mob, tons of cocaine, exotic destinations,…

BRAZIL / 19 MAY 2021

Sporadic clashes between illegal miners and Indigenous communities are not uncommon in northern Brazil but recent shootouts drive a new…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…