Odebrecht Guatemala – The actual face of Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote
The American Chamber of Commerce in Guatemala has recently elected the Guatemalan lawyer Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote as its chairman. The United States´government wants to invest in Guatemala about 1 billion dollars during the next 3 years, and all that money will be forwarded to Guatemala through Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote´s hands.
So, we assume they trust him.
This man has been trumpeting that he fights corruption, as the government he represents through the organization he chairs. Yes, the president of the United States of America, Joe Biden, has as a priority, fighting corruption in Latin America. Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote also screams to the media that he helped CICIG, the Guatemalan justice, the Guatemalan public prosecutor ‘s office, and so on.
And, as a fact, it was the United States´Department of Justice that investigated Odebrecht´s illegal activities in Latin America and other countries of the world, like Angola, Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Mexico, Mozambique, Peru, Dominican Republic and Guatemala. They discovered that the Brazilian construction company had given bribes to many important politicians in the mentioned countries, in order to get work contracts, and then steal the money.
Odebrecht in Guatemala – Juan Pablo Carrasco
The Republic of Guatemala was a victim of Odebrecht, too. The “Agent 6” was the responsible from Brazil to give bribes and convince the politicians to give them priority in construction contracts, and in return, huge amounts of dollars to the involved.
Of course, they needed a trustable Lawyers´Firm in Guatemala, so the illegal contracts would not be noticed, appearing to be legal. They chose “Central Law”, a Firm linked to Mossack-Fonseca, a very well-known Panamanian Firm that used to establish false companies, made just for laundering money, and opened off-shore accounts in countries known as “Fiscal Paradises”.
So, it was easy to get the name of the most corrupt lawyers´Firm in Guatemala: Central Law.
Later, when the Mossack-Fonseca´s documents were leaked and became known, thanks to the Süddeutsche Zeitung and other media in the world, the name of “Central Law” and his owner appears 26 times.
So, Central Law made the contracts with Odebrecht and the Guatemalan government; they were hired, explicitly, to make the contracts pretending them to be legal, although they were corrupt.
Odebrecht then, got a construction contract, bribing Thelma Aldana (prosecutor), Alejandro SInibaldi (the head of the department of road network in Guatemala), Juan Francisco Sandoval (prosecutor), Otto Perez Molina (President of Guatemala), Roxana Baldetti (vice-President), Baldizon (political opposition party) and some members of the guatemalan parliament. Later, witnesses declared that every deputy received Q 250,000; so, in total there were given $ 3,000,000 to the parliament.
The total amount of bribes was US $ 18,000,000; so, there is still the question where did the rest, US $ 15 millions go.
The MP discovered that Baldizon received US $ 3 millions.
The contract was to build 4 extra lanes in a long important road, from Cocales to the border with Mexico in the southwest region of the country. That is 140 Km. But they wanted another contract to build a road in the northeastern region, in Izabal, and they paid Alejandro Sinibaldi one million dollars to his presidential campaign.
In the end, in 2014 and 2015, Odebrecht got work where it made US $ 384 millions.
On May 30, 2016, the Odebrecht President was caught and put in jail, and his company had received the 75% of the contracted money in Guatemala, but had done just the 36% of the work. They had stolen from Guatemala US $ 384,000,000.
How do you move US $ 18 millions in bribes?
To move that amount of money, giving Q 250,000 to each member of the parliament (many, not all), and to many other politicians, is not an easy task. They needed a set of offshore accounts and “Fiscal Paradise Companies”. Manuel Baldizon, for example, received his US $ 3 millions, through his offshore company “American legal”.
And Central Law, the lawyers´Firm, has 26 entries there.
That was not all, because Central Law had links to Federico Machado, a well-known drug dealer, and also received money from a Russian Mining Company operating illegally in Guatemala; so, they used their Offshore accounts in benefit of this international scam.
But, Who is “Central Law” and Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote?
This firm was founded by Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote; he is its president, and also a major partner of “Central Law International” seated in Panama; also the founder of “Diaz-Durán Abogados”, another corrupt Lawyers´Firm in Panama and Miami; and president, vice president, and other positions in 26 offshore companies.
There are official documents that prove that “Central Law” was Odebrecht´s legal firm in Guatemala. For example, in the file # C-01081-2019-00647 from the “Fiscalía de Asuntos Internos del Ministerio Público”, is clearly written in numeral III:
“I am referring to the law firms “Central Law”, “Legalsa” and “Alfonso Carrillo y asociados”, whose partners are Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote, Carlos Cabrera, David Font, Verduo and…“
A little further, it is written that “for the illegal negotiations they (the legal firms) were reached…//…but it was needed the intervention of the lawyers from the legal firms syndicated who, jointly, gave them (the illegal contracts) the appearance of legality so they can be undersigned, and therefore caused damage to the Government. In this criminal proceeding exists a photography made in Brazil, where it…“
Imagen. Left: Guillermo Solís from Odebrecht; Middle: Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote, and right: Carlos Cabrera. The latter two from “Central Law” Firm, which lobbied this fraud. The picture was taken in front of the Odebrecht building in Brazil.
President of AmCham Guatemala
The Chairman of AmCham Guatemala has been clearly a key character in the Odebrecht corruption act, the largest in Latin America during the last 30 years. Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote is helping corruption, but he says that he is fighting it.
And the prosecutor’s office in Guatemala, as well as anti-corruption entities in the country, have already enjailed men like Roxana Baldetti, Alejandro Sinibaldi or Otto Perez Molina; Manuel Baldizon has recently come out of a jail in the USA, and many others are in trial about this case.
But Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote remains still unnoticed, or hidden behind his AmCham Guatemala Chairmanship.
Is there also corruption in the North-American government, or just in its representing Organization in Guatemala? It is naive to think that the partners of AmCham do not know or suspect about the illegal activities of their chairman; but they approve it? Do they applaud these corrupt actions? Well, they have chosen Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote as their chairman.
This climate of impunity, that still reigns in Guatemala, and even in North-American Organizations in Guatemala, must be stopped. Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote must be investigated, but very deeply.