The Paraguayan Prosecutor’s Office received a report that implicates Horacio Cartes in a cigarette trafficking and money laundering scheme. The document details that Cartes had unjustified profits and that he simulated sales between his own companies, for example, 73% of all Tabesa cigarettes were acquired by his other company Palermo SA
The Seprelad report sent to the prosecutor’s office complicates the legal situation of the leader of Honor Colorado, who already has countless investigations for different charges in different countries such as: Brazil, Panama, USA, Colombia, Argentina and Mexico.
Since 2014, Cartes would have laundered money and simulated sales of Tabesa cigarettes. For this Cartes used his own companies, such as Palermo, his media, forms linked to his sister Sarah and even the foundation that bears the name of his father.
In this scheme set up to simulate cigarette sales between their own companies and launder assets, people investigated in the operations AUltranzaPy, Lava Jato, Patrão, etc. also appear as “clients”. They also appear deceased in the list of Tabesa buyers.
In our country there is an overproduction of 2,800 million packs of cigarettes per year. 600 million are intended for domestic consumption and legal export. The rest of the packs, more than 2,200 million, are smuggled out, later re-entering as money.
The first thing that Cartes does through Tabesa is to use its own companies as its main clients, later these companies locate the cigarettes, the final destination being the contraband that crosses mainly to the Brazilian side.
In addition to Palermo SA, Cartes uses as buyers of Tabesa cigarettes other companies dedicated to the communication sector, such as Gráfica y Editorial (la Nación newspaper), Multimedia sa (Popular, Hoy, Crónica newspapers), Unicanal, etc.
Also on the list of buyers is the firm Mercury, owned by deputy Erico Galeano, with an operation of almost USD 12,000,000. Erico’s name had already jumped out in the AUltranzaPy operation, then he was seen again in another Seprelad report for a suspicious operation of USD 1,500,000 with Cartes.
The money that could come from cigarette smuggling and the simulation of sales between the Cartes companies themselves, later returned to the country through private banks and the BNF, from different countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Bahamas, Curaçao, among others.
Tabesa’s largest money operations were carried out with Brazil, despite the fact that there are no cigarette exports with this country. In second place is Mexico, then the Cayman Islands. From the US they received USD 9,000,000, but according to customs they only exported USD 1,813,000.
According to the report, the Basa bank of the Cartes group sent more than USD 6,800,000,000 to Brazil, later part of this money was sent to a bank in Spain, then headed for a bank in China, three US banks and the money was eventually re-sent to the local account of the same group.
Seprelad’s report is extensive and lapidary, forcefully implicating former President Horacio Cartes with a network of cigarette trafficking and money laundering. The details of it were also forwarded to the US Financial Crimes Control Network (FinCen). The evidence abounds, the case is in the hands of justice.