Paraguayan MP sues vice president accused of corruption by the US

The Public Ministry of Paraguay announced this Tuesday (23) the opening of a criminal case against the country’s vice president, Hugo Velázquez, after the United States accused him of participating “ of significant acts of corruption” and banned their entry into the country.

The Attorney General of Paraguay, Sandra Quiñónez, decided to “investigate the facts in relation to the statement” of the US ambassador to the country, Marc Ostfield, that “facts that could have criminal relevance” referred to Velázquez, the Paraguayan MP said in a statement.

The body indicated that prosecutors Liliana Alcaraz and Osmar Legal, from the Specialized Unit of Economic Crimes and Anti-Corruption, will be responsible for the charges.

Asked about the matter, Velázquez alleged to Radio Monumental, from Paraguay, that, as the Public Ministry does not have a complaint about what is assigned, “the only way to request the records from the embassy is to file a lawsuit”. “It’s the possibility of knowing what it’s about, because I don’t know what it’s about”, he argued.

In turn, Liliana Alcaraz told the same broadcaster that, as there was no complaint about a alleged bribery involving the vice president, the investigation has as its starting point the statements of Ostfield.

On the last day 12, the United States accused Velázquez and the now ex -legal advisor to the Yacyretá Hydroelectric Power Plant (EBY), Juan Carlos Duarte, for participation in “significant acts of corruption”, including the offering of bribes and interference in public proceedings.

Marc Ostfield stated during a press conference in Asunción that Duarte, at the request of Vice President Velázquez, “offered a bribe of more than US$ 1 million” to a public official, with the alleged intention of “obstructing an investigation that threatened the Vice President and their financial interests.”

Shortly after the State Department’s announcement, Sandra Quiñónez ordered a “t legal” of the statement to determine whether there were “facts of criminal relevance” and whether an investigation was appropriate.

Velázquez, who initially said he was willing to step down, withdrew last Thursday to formalize his resignation and claimed that he would ask “the corresponding agencies” for evidence of the charges.

In a statement released that day, Velázquez said he had received confirmation that the Public Ministry does not have a case open against him. . However, he withdrew his pre-candidacy for the presidency of the country by the ruling Colorado Party, being replaced by the now former Minister of Public Works and Communications Arnoldo Wiens.

Asked about the situation of his second-in-command , the president of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez, declared last Sunday in an interview with the Telefuturo broadcaster “that the right thing is to resign”, but said that he “absolutely respects” Velázquez’s decision.

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