Rio de Janeiro's Seventh Federal Court on Tuesday issued a prison order for Paraguay' s former President Horacio Cartes for his involvement in a case related to the Car Wash Operation in Brazil.
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The decision was taken by Brazilian Judge Marcelo Bretas who is in charge of the investigations into millionaire money diversions that occurred within the state-owned oil company Petrobras.
The Prosecutor's Office suspects that Paraguay’s former president helped Brazil’s “biggest forex trader” Dario Messer, who was arrested in Sao Paulo last July.
Since the 1980s, Messer had been leading a sophisticated transnational money laundering network which allowed politicians and businessmen to move millions of dollars.
As a result, he was an essential figure for the practice of corporate crimes such as corruption, tax evasion, and currency leakage.
Rio's Car Wash Operation arrests Paraguay's former president and 19 more. Horacio Cartes was arrested today. He is suspected of hiding his assets through money maker Dario Messer, who was arrested in July this year after months of flight.
Messer is also investigated in Paraguay, where authorities suspect that he, his son and a cousin of Cartes would have carried out irregular operations in that country for an amount of USD40 million.
Paraguay granted Paraguayan citizenship to Messer in 2017, given that he had resided there since 1993; one year later, however, authorities withdrew his nationality after finding that he was being investigated for integrating a criminal international organization focused on money laundering, which was performed through the purchase and sale of the U.S.dollar.
Businessman Cartes, who was president of Paraguay from 2013 to 2018, owns about two big dozen companies in his conglomerate, which includes tobacco, soft drinks, meat production, and banking.
Member of the far-right Colorado Party since 2009, Cartes became involved in politics because he "wanted to counter the swing to the Left" in Latin American politics.