Thursday, April 22, 2021

Brazilian forex dealer to forfeit $190 million in proceeds of money-laundering scheme

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A Brazilian foreign exchange dealer accused of masterminding a massive money-laundering scheme has agreed to surrender nearly $190 million in a plea bargain “unprecedented in scale,” prosecutors said Thursday.

Dario Messer, known as the “Master Dollar-Dealer,” agreed to cooperate with the authorities in their ongoing investigation, whose targets also include former Paraguayan president Horacio Cartes.

Messer was arrested last year in an offshoot of “Operation Car Wash,” a massive anti-corruption investigation that brought down a laundry list of powerful politicians and business executives in Brazil and whose fallout later spread across Latin America.

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Under the deal, he will serve a prison term of 18 years and nine months, prosecutors said.

However, Brazilian media reports said the agreement included a provision making him eligible for conditional release after three years.

The deal also compels Messer to pay the Brazilian state “more than 99 percent of his net worth,” prosecutors said in a statement.

The assets to be surrendered include “luxury properties, monetary assets in Brazil and abroad, as well as works of art and assets in Paraguay in the agricultural and real-estate sectors,” they said.

Messer is accused of leading an illegal foreign exchange, money-laundering and tax-evasion network that moved more than $1.6 billion from 2011 until his arrest.

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The network allegedly used the accounts of 3,000 companies based in tax havens to move money online between exchange houses in 25 countries.

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