The former Director General of Consular Affairs and Liaison of the Foreign Ministry, Pauline DaviesI know demarcated from any responsibility by processing and delivery of the passport to the drug trafficker Sebastián Marset and instead pointed to the Ministry of the Interior for the issuance of said document.
In his statement for the administrative investigation held at the chancellery, to which he agreed The Observerthe diplomat said that “was not informed or consulted” regarding the processing of the passport, nor was he aware of when the procedure was entered into the system. He also said that did not participate in the instruction given to the Emirates to proceed to load it in the system and that He was not part of the coordination that took place to deliver it to the Foreign Ministry to Marset’s lawyers.
“I understand that they evaluated (officials who depend on her) that they were in a situation similar to other previous ones, but I I was not informed about it and neither was my direct superior. I consulted which emails were available in the box of the General Directorate and those specific communications informed me that they were not found,” said the Foreign Service professional who Between March 2020 and February 2022, he was a member of the ministerial cabinet.
Davies stated that he had learned that Marset was detained in Dubai on 21 September as a result of a request for information from Vice Chancellor Carolina Ache as a result of a consultation made by the Undersecretary of the Interior, Guillermo Maciel.
According to Davies’ account, the first thing he did was try to communicate with the ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Álvaro Ceriani, to whom he told that he was contacting him by “a drug dealer from there”. But since he did not get an immediate response, he called the emergency telephone number that answered the Consul Fiorella Prado.
According to Davies’s testimony, she was the one who notified him that three messages were waiting for her in the mailbox of the address in which the arrest of Marset was reportedtheir background What drug dealer and confirmation that he was using a fake Paraguayan passport.
The news of Marset’s arrest had arrived exactly one week before by email from the General Directorate of Consulars and Liaison that Davies headed. In a message from “high priority” sent on September 14, 2021, the Embassy in the United Arab Emirates informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of this fact. Marset had tried to board Turkey from Dubai International Airport using a false Paraguayan passport.
In addition to Consulares and Linking, in said mail were copied: the Embassy of Uruguay in Qatar, the Compatriot Service Office and Circular 90.
Foreign Ministry sources explained to The Observer that the so-called Circular 90 is an internal ordinance of the foreign ministry in force for several years that establishes that All communication that enters from the missions abroad or leaves the Foreign Ministry to the representations must go with a copy to the Secretary of the Ministerto the undersecretary and to the General Directorate of the ministry.
Another source explained that the volume of emails that go through the Ministry’s Secretariat is very high and that it is copied as “a formality.”
On September 16, the consulate sent a new “high priority” message to the same recipients in which it was reported that there had been contacted the couple from Marset. In point number 5 of that communication It was detailed that Marset had a record for drug trafficking in Uruguay.
“Ms. García also reported that they had a lawyer in Uruguay, who was currently processing Mr. Marset’s Criminal Record Certificate, since although he served a prison sentence for drug trafficking for several years in Uruguay, they say that the case is already closed”, they wrote from the consulate in the Arab country.
Also in that communication, the Embassy in the Emirates stated that “none of the people involved in this event, neither the Marset family nor Mrs. García” had “intentions to communicate with Uruguay or return to the country.”
He finally reported that they had shown themselves “reluctant to provide more information” to the consular section.
In the interpellation For this issue, on August 22, the chancellor Francisco Bustillo defended that nobody knew who Marset was, in November 2021, when they processed his passport.
In his presentation, he first said: “In addition, I reiterate that this must be properly contextualized. In November, who of all of us knew who Marset was? Much less knew those who acted at the consular level, making the necessary actions in terms of consular assistance “.
Then he reiterated: “About the fact that he was a drug trafficker, well, we know today, but not when the passport was processed.”
However, at the end of the interpellation, he reformulated and said that his sentence could not be taken “literally” but in a “figurative” sense because everyone knew that “the Marset of March is not the Marset of October”. And he added: “For our regulations, he was Marset at that time and still is, a Uruguayan with the same rights as others.”
In the fifth question of the interview for the administrative investigation, the foreign ministry instructor asked Davies if he had made known to his “hierarchical superiors” all the facts surrounding the application for Marset’s passport. Davies replied naming Ache by virtue of the communication that he maintained on September 21.
However, according to article 2 of decree 176/019, the undersecretary is not your immediate superior. CEOs They answer to the General Director of the Secretariat – a position currently held by Diego Escuder – and the latter to the minister.
On the letter that helped free Marset
Circular 90 was also copied in other relevant communications like when he consulate requested instructionson October 20 and reiterated on the 28th of that month, to respond to Marset’s lawyer, Alejandro Balbi, if he agreed to issue a note ensuring that the drug trafficker could process his Uruguayan passport in Abu Dhabi. This letter was later used by the defense to obtain the release of Marset.
The response from the Department of Travel Documents – in which the General Directorate of Consular and Liaison and Circular 90 is also copied – arrived on October 29 in an email that alludes to the point in which it was requested Instructions for making the letter: “It is reported that the compatriot will be able to start the common passport application, and this Department cannot ensure if this document will be printed.”
On this matter, Davies stated in the administrative inquiry that he was not aware that “any written instruction had been given in response to the statement in the letter.” He said that did not remember having been consulted regarding the origin of the issuance of the letter. “I never received a message from the consul or the ambassador on this issue or a specific query.”
On November 3, after the Undersecretary of the Interior, Guillermo MacielI warned here that Marset was a “dangerous” drug dealer The undersecretary informed the director of Consular Affairs, Santiago Vitale, through the counselor Paula Rolando. Between October 29 and November 8, Davies was on medical leave for an operation, he said at the inquest.
The same recipients as in the previous “high priority” messages were copied in the communication of November 18 in which the embassy in the Emirates reports that the letter to Balbi states that it will proceed to start the passport process “once the person is at liberty, with the final decision-making authority being the Ministry of the Interior”.
Also in that message it is suggested, “unless there is an opinion to the contrary from the superiority”, to wait for the judicial process of Marset in the Emirates to end to process the travel document.
But the instruction was to go ahead because there were no “impediments” to it.
although davies denied being part of the decision-making process at every stage of this casethe general direction that she led was copied in all relevant communicationsincluding an email from the Travel Department dated November 29, 2021 in which it is reported that Balbi’s brother contacted that office for the purpose of handing over Marset’s passport. This email details the “expressed urgency” by the defenders of drug trafficking and it is said that “exceptionally” delivery to their legal representatives could be authorized.
In that communication it was also copied circular 90.
“No alert communication” from the Interior
Davies took care to make it clear during more than one passage of his statement that the responsibility for the issuance of the passport rested with the Ministry of Interior and indicated that, at all times, the officials of that unit were aware of what was happening.
After becoming aware of the situation, supposedly on September 21, Davies stated that instructed that the whole matter be communicated to Interpol and the National Directorate of Migration from the Consular Affairs box.
“Therefore, I became aware of the situation of Mr. Marset in the month of September and lacking the General Management and because it is the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior, what we did was inform Interpol. That is what is usually done when there are similar cases. I understand that also from Travel Documentation the corresponding consultations were made to the Ministry of the Interior for the issuance of the passport, ”he said.
However, the official narrated that “no response received” or “no alert communication” by the Ministry of the Interior.
“The procedure for the issuance of the passport consists in that all aspects related to security are the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior”he claimed.
And he stressed: “When the Foreign Ministry receives a document issued and authorized by the Ministry of the Interior, it proceeds to deliver it (…) I am not aware of any case in which the passport issued by the Ministry of the Interior should not be delivered, or has been received at the Foreign Ministry and should not be delivered later. All passports issued to us are deliverable”.
From the minister’s environment they repeat that this information does not add new elements to the subject, that it is presented in the administrative investigation and that it corresponds to an assessment of the official regarding a previous situation of Marset, that at the time of processing his passport he had no history or in Uruguay or internationally.
The Foreign Ministry has defended that the administrative investigation was conclusive in establishing that there were no irregularities at any stage of the process, that there was no express procedure, or exceptional treatment, and that the passport was delivered according to the law in force at that time.