Darío Messer, a Brazilian syndicated as one of the brains of a huge scheme of money laundering and currency evasion, in Paraguay managed to acquire nationality, buy land throughout the country and move millions of dollars through a state bank and other private banks. This is revealed by journalistic investigations about this man whom former president Cartes called “brother of the soul”. Messer also founded the house of changes Amambay, that soon happened to be the Bank Amambay, of the Cartes group. Through the hearings of the Bicameral Congressional Commission that follows this case, it has been confirmed that Messer also acquired Treasury bonds, which makes it a creditor of the State. Currently, Messer is still the holder of these bonds, which technically means that each Paraguayan and Paraguayan has a debt to a man fugitive in our country and in Brazil in the framework of the investigation of the biggest corruption scandal in Latin America, the Lava Jato.
According to the Ministry of Finance, “bonds are financial instruments of fixed income in which the issuer, which is the debtor or borrower, promises to pay the lender or investor the amount borrowed plus certain amount of interest during a period.” The bonds work just like a bank loan. Whoever acquires them becomes a creditor of the issuing entity, which may be the State or private entities. A state bonus can circulate in the local or international market, in which case it is called a sovereign bond.
Messer, who since 2011 entered money into Paraguay through his accounts in Luxembourg – a tax haven – and deposited it with the National Development Bank (BNF) and other banks, acquired government bonds. According to the fiscal investigation in charge of the case, the BNF reported to the Secretariat for the Prevention of Money Laundering (Seprelad) on November 30, two suspicious transactions of Messer’s accounts in that bank. In a single day, 9,800,000 dollars were transferred from those accounts, via Itaú, to Puente Casa de Bolsa. Indeed, through this intermediary one of Messer’s companies bought Treasury bonds. This was confirmed at the hearing of the Bicameral Congress Committee where Patricio Fiorito, commercial manager of Puente Casa de Bolsa, declared.
In this house, Dan Messer (son of Messer) and Juan Pablo Jiménez Viveros (cousin of Cartes) opened accounts in the name of the companies of Messer – Chai S.A. and Matrix Realty S.A – in 2015. When Rep. Ever Noguera, a member of the commission, asked Fiorito if they were marketed with these two companies government bonds, Fiorito replied that yes. “One of the companies, Matrix, acquired state bonds in the secondary market for an amount of 2,700,000 dollars and sold almost all of those bonds,” he said. He explained that there remain 200,000 bonds of the Republic of Paraguay worth 200,000 dollars in said account. Deputy Celeste Amarilla asked Fiorito where those bonds are now. “The custody is in the bags, in the markets,” he replied. The tax investigation and that of the congressional commission is ongoing. It can not be ruled out that Messer bought more state bonds.