| 21 April 2024, Sunday |

Paraguay VP Velazquez to quit after U.S. accuses him of corruption

Hugo Velazquez, Vice President of Paraguay, announced his resignation and withdrawal from the presidential race on Friday, after being blacklisted by the US for suspected “serious” acts of corruption.

Velazquez refuted the charge but stated that he will quit next week to “defend” his party.

“I talk with the peace that my behavior provides me, since I did not do what they accuse me of,” he told Monumental, a local radio station. “I am speaking in good conscience.”

Earlier on Friday, the US State Department accused Velazquez of participating in serious acts of corruption.

According to a statement issued by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Valazquez’ associate Juan Carlos Duarte offered a payment to a Paraguayan public official in order to “obstruct an inquiry that jeopardized the Vice President and his financial interests.”

The offered bribe exceeded $1 million, according to Marc Ostfield, the United States’ ambassador to Paraguay.

Duarte stated that he had resigned and would cooperate with authorities, but he did not address the allegations directly.

In Blinken’s announcement, Velazquez and Duarte’s close family members were also banned.

The state department in July accused former Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes of “significant corruption” and of obstructing a cross-border criminal investigation.

He dismissed the accusations at the time as “unfounded and unjust.”

  • Reuters