Paraguayan Attorney General’s Office requests information from the U.S. regarding accusations against vice president

Archive – Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez and his Vice President Hugo Velázquez – ANDRE M. CHANG / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO

The Paraguayan Attorney General’s Office has assured, following the accusations made by the United States Government against the Paraguayan Vice-President, Hugo Velázquez, that «weeks ago» it had already asked the U.S. authorities for information on the investigations for alleged corruption.

In this sense, he has affirmed that in August 2022 the Paraguayan Public Ministry issued a first request, after Washington catalogued Velázquez as «significantly corrupt». Two weeks ago, and given the apparent lack of response, a second request was made.

«The case is open and under investigation,» explained the Paraguayan Prosecutor’s Office, which maintains a case to which the Joe Biden Administration has also requested access. «This (U.S.) request was immediately answered by the prosecutorial unit in charge,» it added.

Velázquez has been in Washington’s crosshairs for months, accused of «interfering in legal processes» and of maneuvering to protect himself from potential investigations, giving rise to bribes or threats «to those who could expose his criminal activity», according to the US Treasury.

The US government has also blacklisted former President Horacio Cartes for engaging in corrupt activities «before, during and after» his term in office (2013-2018). «The political career started and continues to rely on corrupt means,» the Treasury Department has said bluntly, which accounts for bribes of up to $ 10,000 to achieve his nomination as presidential candidate of the Colorado Party.

In 2017, he allocated $1 million of his fortune to «buy» the votes of deputies and attempt a constitutional reform that would open the door to a second term. Failed this reform, and already out of the Presidency, he would have tried to maintain his influence with continued payments that in some cases reach $50,000 per month.

In addition, Joe Biden’s Administration links both Cartes and Velázquez to a company, Hizbollah, responsible for organizing events during which corrupt practices are allegedly carried out and which, in the eyes of the United States, is a «terrorist organization».