Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote — head of Amcham Guatemala owns many offshore and shadow companies: drugs scandal
Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote, head of Amcham Guatemala, turned out to be the owner of multiple shell companies and shady offshore accounts. An appeal is now being prepared to the Guatemalan prosecutor’s office to start an investigation.
The ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) about the investigation of the publication of Pandora Papers made a big splash. As a result, they even announced an impeachment to the President of Chile. The leakage of hidden documents prompted a series of investigations.
However, not all persons mentioned in the Pandora and Panama Papers were in the headlines. Some of them still carry on their usual activities and continue their corrupt activities.
America against corruption investigated the Panama Papers and found in them a mention of the corruption network of the head of Amcham Guatemala, which is Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote. The president of the business association has 26 entries in the Panama Papers.
Shadow companies and hidden accounts were found in three offshore zones:
- British Virgin Islands
- British Anguilla
The head of Amcham Guatemala Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote is associated with Mossack Fonseca
Offshore Leaks reveals Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote’s ties to the controversial law firm Mossack Fonseca. Moreover, de Groot’s company Central Law has the same legal address with Mossack Fonseca: 15 Avenida 18-28 Zone 13, Guatemala.
In 11 Carrasco’s companies, Fonseca acted as registrar. In most of them, the same people appear in different positions. They don’t have official websites, and their types of activity haven’t been identified.
Nowhere else do these companies appear as if they simply don’t exist.
Why register so many companies and not engage in them? This is an obvious reason to suspect Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote, head of Amcham Guatemala, of illegal activities.
In this case, if it is true, then an investigative procedure must be carried out, and Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote cannot hold a high position in Amcham Guatemala.
Remember that Mossack Fonseca is the registrar of offshore companies around the world for corrupt officials, criminals, and dishonest politicians. The leaked database of “black lawyers” led to criminal investigations. But many of the defendants were hiding.
The prosecutor’s office should sort out the cases of the head of Amcham Guatemala Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote
Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote positions himself as an honest and decent lawyer, the head of a business association. He conducts various briefings and meetings.
In 2020, when Jammatei took the position of the President of Guatemala, at the premises of Amcham Guatemala they signed a memorandum to provide $3 billion of American investments over three years.
Carrasco, as the head of Amcham Guatemala, as well as having a huge number of political connections, poses huge risks to this investment. Ordinary citizens and the country’s economy will never get this money when corrupt officials are interested in it.
In the summer 2021, Joe Biden issued an Anti-Corruption Memorandum, which equates to a national security issue. Against this background, any funds sent to third countries and may be subject to the risk of corruption theft should be monitored as much as possible.
And any encroachment on American funds must be suppressed and punished. Guatemala strives for democracy, for true democracy. And it is not ready to lose the trust and support of the United States because of the activities of the head of Amcham Guatemala, Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote.
America against corruption is preparing to send an appeal to the Guatemalan prosecutor’s office to initiate investigative actions against Juan Pablo Carrasco and to initiate an anti-corruption check.
Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote puts the American Chamber of Commerce in an awkward position
The American Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business association with a century of history. De facto it has offices in all countries of the world.
The scandals associated with the American Chamber of Commerce are nonsense. It always supports democratic projects and helps develop business processes.
The reputation of the American Chamber of Commerce is now in jeopardy. If the Washington officials don’t react and extinguish the conflict, this could spill over into the public plane. Moreover, uncomfortable details will be uncovered after the start of the prosecutor’s proceedings.
One of the options is to replace Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote, the head of Amcham Guatemala, in order to reduce reputation damage and maintain a good name. But besides that, they need to think strategically. The American Chamber of Commerce is the reputation of all its members. These are large brands and companies that need to be protected from reputational losses.
Owning a shell business and offshores for a man as high as Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote, head of Amcham Guatemala, is unacceptable for a young democracy.
Whiskey, heroin, and kickbacks: the true face of Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote
Amcham Guatemala Company proudly describes itself as a proactive intermediary developing relations between Guatemala and the United States. According to the company, its main goals include supporting negotiations with government officials, assisting its partners and meeting the US Embassy representatives to discuss and find solutions to a variety of problems. But a real situation is slightly different.
Since 2012, Amcham Guatemala has been headed by Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote, a professional lawyer and the founder of Central Law. Photos with ministers, meeting with high American officials, and partitions on prestigious panels are used as a disguise to hide dubious transactions.
During the daytime, the famous lawyer cultivates an image of a successful professional who relates to the high-ranking US officials and ministers of 5 local administrations. At night, visitors to a prestigious bar in the zone 14 can see Carrasco surrounded by pretty Colombian models with cocktail glasses.
Drug trafficking, illegal mining licenses, provision of legal protection for organized criminal groups in Guatemala, including Frederico “Fred” Machado’s drug business, closed ports in Guatemala, and secret friendship with the outlawed prosecutor Sandoval – these are some of the topics that the Amcham Guatemala President Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote discusses with a cocktail. The truth is being gradually revealed – only a short time ago, the Court of Philadelphia included Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote in the list of suspects in the Federico Machado case.
Heroin airlines and theft licenses
Here is only a small part of what is known about the wrongdoing of Amcham Guatemala, its head Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote, and their relations to Frederico Machado.
Frederico Machado, the owner of Minas del Pueblo, arrived in Guatemala disguising as a successful businessman who’d succeeded thanks to the Amcham Guatemala President Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote. The same “President” is known for having business relations with Central Law Company. On December 11, 2020, the law firm Central Law appointed David Scott Masters as the sole legal and administrative representative of Minas del Pueblo.
The notary officer who signed this kind of registration is Aida Gabriela Trujillo Herrera. She also appears as a law agent of Central Law headed by Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote. According to the public registers, the Minas del Pueblo registration address coincides with the place of incorporation of Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote’s law firm.
According to the documents of the trial No. 4: 20-CR-212 of the Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Federico Machado is accused of belonging to a criminal structure engaged in money laundering and drug trafficking. So far, eight people have been accused of transnational drug trafficking, money laundering, and financial crimes.
The three trucks loaded with precious minerals extracted at a mine in Chiquimula and seized on January 23 gave the alarm. Minas del Pueblo Company owned by Machado and technically operating in another area of the country, would have started its activities in Chiquimula. Without obtaining a mining license and not deceiving the Chiquimula commune. According to the mayor’s office, Minas del Pueblo assured that would build a gallery to protect the materials.
Machado is also involved in illegal operations with drug-trafficking planes in a few Latin American countries. According to the criminal indictment, some of these planes were later used by drug cartels in such countries as Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico to transport large volumes of cocaine to the United States.
By different estimates, Federico Machado managed to achieve amazing total results: $350 million from drug trafficking-related illegal operations all over the globe. The exact amount, which Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote could help to obtain, hasn’t been revealed.
The Texas indictment says Machado sought investors to finance purchasing of planes that later flew southward. “Investors made deposits to companies that later allocated money to the fields unrelated to the planes.” Machado and his crime associates managed to defraud around $560 million from their investors.
“Machado attracted investors to purchase planes that never existed, which had been going on since 2016,” the document says. It seems that Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote, the most prominent Amcham Guatemala President, acted as a perfect “American” friend to complete the illegal conspiracy.
Illegal ports, gifts, and fines – Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote
Solid reputation and relations gained thanks to his position at Amcham Guatemala helped Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote become the gateway to the “high-end club” of international investors. At early 2014, Carrasco met a famous Swiss friend of Perez Molina and Baldetti – Jurg Widmer Probst.
Even though he has been fleeing from justice since June 2016, the companies belonging to Swiss businessman Jurg Widmer Probst still receive gifts such as rich clients, as well as stay in touch with the government.
Even years after revealing the fact of bribing governmental and political structures with millions of dollars, which Perez Molina and Roxana Baldetti performed through their personal secretary Juan Carlos Monson.
One of the Probst companies’ fate seems to be decided by a new tender, which will bring at least $273 million to the winning company.
On August 1, the port company Santo Tomas de Castilla (Empornac) requested “to conclude a contract for providing specialized services for loading and unloading ships with mobile and multipurpose port cranes in the docks of the port.”
This all aimed at replacing the cranes that are currently working on the site owned by Caribe Gru company – one of a variety of companies associated with Probst and included in the Interport group, which has been operating in the above-mentioned state port for 20 years.
The tender rules were adapted and specified in such a way that only one company could become the winner due to the attached specifications and requirements that only Caribe Gru could meet. Years later, the contract drawn up by Carrasco the lawyer, which allowed Probst to penetrate into a part of the port facade and install a temporary dock, was declared harmful to the national interests.
This has resulted from particular violations: operations through a legal entity that doesn’t correspond to the nature of the above-mentioned contract and no records of this administrative procedure in the State Asset Department of the Ministry of Public Finance.
Obrerdrecht, FECI and Sandoval
The Obrerdrecht case created chaos in Latin America, with Guatemala being no exception. But only few people know that the lawyer who represented Obrerdrech in Guatemala and negotiated the underhanded cooperation agreement between Obrerdrecht and former prosecutor Sandoval is no other than Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote. Who’s now a partner of Central Law and Amcham Guatemala.
The signing of this agreement laid the basis for criminal charges against Sandoval; the former state general prosecutor Anabella Morfin claimed that Sandoval’s actions were illegal since the prosecutor’s office and to a lesser extent Sandoval himself was in charge of negotiating economic issues and contracts on inflicted damage.
Guatemala lost millions in total, and Sandoval together with Carrasco saved money for the Brazilian who paid millions of dollars as a compensation to other countries in the region. Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote – a devotee of fighting against corruption and a defender of the rights to freedom and transparency of the northern country – seems to stick to these ideals only when speaking on various boards as a representative of Amcham Guatemala.