Arnaldo Guizzio admitted that he had met "El Marques de Padua" several times because his company wanted to offer services to the Paraguayan State.
Paraguay's President Mario Abdo dismissed Interior Minister Arnaldo Giuzzio after a meeting they held at the government headquarters on Tuesday morning.
"This decision is based on the deep conviction of safeguarding the legitimacy of the Interior Ministry," said the head of the Presidency's Cabinet, Hernan Huttemann, who also announced that Ambassador Federico Gonzalez will be the new Interior Minister. Prior to this change, however, President Abdo had expressed his support for Giuzzio on several occasions.
Last week, local outlets reported that the Ombu company lent this official an armored van for his vacation trip to Brazil. The owner of this company is Marcus Espindola (aka Marques de Padua), a character known for his drug-trafficking activity.
Giuzzio swore that he rented the vehicle without knowing the background of Espindola. This attempt at justification, however, was short-lived. Gilberto Enciso, the Ombu manager, affirmed that the armored truck was not leased but rather "ceded due to a bond of friendship."
Marcus Espindola, who was arrested last week as part of the international Operation Turf, is a partner of Jussara Cabral, a minority shareholder of Tabacalera del Este (Tabesa), a company owned by former President Horacio Cartes (2013-2018).
Before his arrest, the "Marques de Padua" was wanted in Brazil for money laundering, drug trafficking, and asset trafficking.
Giuzzio was dismissed shortly after a scandal caused by his partiality in the processing of cases linked to Cartes. The former Interior Minister admitted that he had met Espindola several times because his company wanted to offer services to the Paraguayan State.