Designation of Paraguayan Vice President Hugo Velazquez and EBY Legal Counsel Juan Carlos Duarte for Involvement in Significant Corruption

The United States is designating Paraguayan Vice President Hugo Velazquez and Yacyretá Bi-National Entity Legal Counsel Juan Carlos “Charly” Duarte for involvement in significant corruption, including bribery of a public official and interference in public processes.

Duarte, a close personal and professional associate of Vice President Velazquez, offered a bribe to a Paraguayan public official in order to obstruct an investigation that threatened the Vice President and his financial interests. Corrupt acts such as these also contribute to diminished confidence in the government and public perceptions of corruption and impunity within the office of the Paraguayan Vice President. Additionally, Duarte’s act of corruption abused and exploited his powerful and privileged public position within the Yacyretá Bi-National Entity, risking public confidence in one of Paraguay’s most vital economic assets.

This public designation is made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2022. As part of this action, the Department is also designating Velazquez’s immediate family members, including Lourdes Maria Andrea Samaniego Gonzalez, Dionicio Adalberto Velazquez Gimenez, Sonya Rebeca Velazquez Escauriza, and Hugo Jose Velazquez Escauriza; and Duarte’s immediate family members including Ninfa Concepcion Vera Moreira and Tamara Duarte Martinez.

These designations reaffirm the commitment of the United States to combat corruption, which harms the public interest, hampers countries’ economic prosperity, and curtails the ability of governments to respond effectively to the needs of their people. The United States continues to stand with all Paraguayans in support of democracy and the rule of law and will continue to promote accountability for those who abuse public power for personal gain, regardless of their position or political affiliation.