LatinNews Daily - 28 September 2022

URUGUAY: Head of president’s security detail indicted in forgery case

On 27 September Alejandro Astesiano, the head of security for Uruguay’s President Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou, was charged in relation to a forgery ring that allegedly helped Russian nationals illegally obtain Uruguayan passports.


The charges against Astesiano – who was detained on a preventative basis on 25 September and has since been dismissed from his post – are a blow for President Lacalle Pou, who declared himself “as surprised” by the news “as you all are” in a news conference that he called the following day. The allegations involving Astesiano, who the president said he had known for over 20 years, are threatening a potential scandal for the right-of-centre Partido Nacional (PN) government.

  • Public prosecutor Gabriela Fossati has been cited by the press as saying that Astesiano had been charged for three crimes including influence trafficking in relation to a criminal ring that allegedly created false Russian birth certificates that claimed Uruguayan parents for the purpose of obtaining passports and other documents.
  • Two other people have also been indicted and have been detained to avoid obstructing the investigation into the criminal gang which reportedly began two years ago, while Fossati told the media that there are still “many more” people to be questioned.
  • National daily El País yesterday cited President Lacalle Pou as saying that Astesiano had won the confidence of the Lacalle family in 1999, having previously worked as a driver for former foreign minister Sergio Abreu (1993-1995), who served under the government led by Lacalle Pou’s father Luis Lacalle Herrera (1990-1995). Lacalle Pou also said that Astesiano had worked with him on his first presidential campaign in 2014.
  • While Lacalle Pou denied reports that Astesiano had a criminal record, on 26 September the local media reported that 20 previous inquiries into Astesiano existed, spanning allegations of crimes including theft, fraud and misappropriation, among others.

Looking Ahead: Lacalle Pou has pledged a full investigation. While Fossati has been cited by local news outlet ‘Montevideo Portal’ as saying that there is “nothing that suggests any link with the office of the presidency…we are talking about an official who was working for himself”, the authorities will be under pressure to clarify the nature and extent of the criminal gang and any possible links to other officials.

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