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    A police officer fired the shot that killed an 8-year-old girl in Rio de Janeiro this year, authorities said Tuesday, a finding that bolstered complaints by activists that the collateral damage of a crackdown on crime is too high. Ágatha Sales Félix was inside a van Sept. 20 when she was shot in the back. The incident took place in the Complexo do Alemao favela, a vast working-class community in the northern part of Rio. The girl’s death struck a chord in a city where police violence is on the rise and there is little accountability. Rio’s officers, as in the case of Ágatha, almost always justify on-duty killings by claiming self-defense in the face of armed criminals. The investigation provides a rare example of authorities saying an officer misrepresented events to avoid punishment and it recommends he be charged with murder. 'This police officer lied,” said Marcus Drucker, who led the investigation. The officer initially reported using his gun to target an armed suspect on a motorcycle, authorities said. The investigation discredited his claim, saying neither the driver nor passenger of the motorcycle possessed a weapon, according to some 10 witnesses. President Jair Bolsonaro won the 2018 election vowing to tackle endemic crime in Brazil, saying police officers who kill bandits should be decorated, not prosecuted. Rio state Gov. Wilson Witzel, a former marine, likewise pledged a crackdown, and his policies include sending snipers on helicopters to shoot criminals armed with rifles. Their proposals have coincided with a drop in crime, but been subject to criticism for increasing police violence in the favelas. Ágatha’s family members, residents and human rights activists staged several protests after her death. Her uncle, Danilo Lima Félix, told The Associated Press that the case generated such large outrage because she was so young, making it impossible for anyone to reasonably claim she had been involved with drug trafficking. “If she had been a teenager, they would have said she was a criminal,” Lima Félix said. “Black people in favelas don’t have much to defend themselves with.” Still, many of those who voted for Bolsonaro and Witzel point to better crime data as proof their policies are working. The number of homicides in Brazil plunged 37% from January to September, to 23,383 victims, according to data from the justice ministry. In Rio, homicides fell 21%, official data show. Meanwhile, deaths at the hands of Rio security officers have surged to levels unseen since the late 1990s, the Brazilian think tank Igarape Institute said. The 1,400 victims between January and September were up 18.5% from the prior year, official data shows. Children have not been spared. Ágatha was one of six children killed by stray bullets in Rio’s metropolitan area so far this year, whether by police or criminals, according to the nonprofit group Rio de Paz. There were 10 children killed by stray bullets in each of the three years from 2016 to 2018. The latest victim was Ketellen Umbelino de Oliveira Gomes, 5, killed on her way to school Nov. 12. Rio de Paz is organizing a December protest. 'Brazilian society, public power, need to answer a central question: How many fingers pulled the trigger of the gun that killed Ágatha Felix?” asked Antônio Carlos Costa, president of Rio de Paz. Costa argued the police are not the only culprit for Brazil’s “warlike culture” and its “shoot first, find out who it is afterward” culture. The heated debate crept into Congress on Tuesday, when a lawmaker from the conservative PSL party that brought Bolsonaro to power, destroyed a banner denouncing police violence against the country’s black population. The large illustration was titled “Genocide of the black population” and depicted a black man lying dead on the ground, his hands cuffed behind his back, and a white policeman walking away, a smoking gun in his hand. Victims of police violence are often black, poor and living in favelas, where the government’s reach is weaker. Wednesday is Black Consciousness Day in Brazil, a bank holiday in several cities. The officer who shot Ágatha is no longer patrolling the streets, the police said in an email. The investigation was sent to the state prosecutor’s office Tuesday, and a judge will examine the case. “What we want is justice, that this police officer pays for what he has done,” said Lima Félix, the girl’s uncle.
  • Iran will likely buy new advanced fighter jets and tanks next year when a U.N. Security Council arms embargo is scheduled to be lifted, a senior U.S. intelligence official said Tuesday as the Defense Intelligence Agency released a new assessment of Iran’s military capabilities. The DIA report concludes Tehran is committed to becoming the dominant power in the Middle East, and it warns that the Islamic Republic is making rapid progress developing attack drones and other missile systems. The report comes amid escalating tensions between Iran and the West in the wake of a series of attacks on commercial shipping vehicles and Saudi oil facilities this year that have been blamed on Tehran. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, an intelligence official said Iran would probably buy the tanks and aircraft from Russia and China. The U.S. has stringent economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic and those would likely continue even if the U.N. embargo is lifted. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters. Currently, Iran uses 1970s-era Soviet tanks and a number of older fighter aircraft, according to the DIA report. Iran’s defense budget declined a bit this year and could face more cuts, as the country struggles under severe economic pressure due to the U.S. sanctions. There have been widespread protests in Iran as people have seen their savings evaporate amid scarce jobs and the collapse of the national currency, the rial. The DIA report said the budget problems could affect Tehran’s ability to meet its military goals. But, it added that Iran also uses other sources of funding to support its military activities, including money from private corporations, smuggling and other illicit activities. Under the 2015 nuclear deal, the United Nations-imposed arms embargo on Iran is slated to be lifted in October 2020. The Trump administration pulled out of the deal last year and imposed new sanctions on Iran. The five other parties to the agreement — Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany -- still support it. Tensions between Iran and the West intensified earlier this spring, when there were a number of suspected Iranian attacks against commercial ships in the Persian Gulf region. Then in September, there was an attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia that U.S. and Western officials also blamed on Iran. In response, the U.S. sent about 3,000 troops along with missile defense systems to Saudi Arabia, and it beefed up its naval and air presence in the region. Iran has denied involvement in the attacks and has warned the U.S. that any military response will spark an 'all-out war' with immediate retaliation from Tehran. The DIA report says Iran has also increased its use of drones, as surveillance assets to watch American troops and ships in the Gulf and as weapons platforms to launch attacks. And the report says Tehran is improving its cyberspace capabilities, both to collect information and to launch cyberattacks against U.S. and other targets. “Although still technologically inferior to most of its competitors,” the report said, “the Iranian military has progressed substantially over the past few decades.”
  • A couple of hundred demonstrators have protested against a proposed Mexico City law that would allow children and adolescents to change the gender listed on their birth certificates. They would have to be accompanied by at least one guardian to do so. Mexico City law already allows adults to legally change their gender. A coalition of anti-abortion and other groups protested outside the city council building Tuesday, holding signs reading “No to The Trans Law,” and “Don’t Confuse Children.” They argued children cannot be expected to make such a decision. City council commissions approved the proposed legal changes Nov. 14. Voting in favor was the Morena party of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, which holds a majority in the city. The bill still must be approved by the full council.
  • Wails filled a church in Haiti’s capital on Tuesday during funeral services for five people killed in anti-government protests that began more than two months ago. Among those killed was 15-year-old Jasmine Pierre, whose father told The Associated Press that she was hit inside their home by a stray bullet when police began firing at protesters. “This really hurts,” said her father, Macene Pierre. “I lost my little girl. I don’t know what I’m going to do.” Hundreds of people attended the funerals for Pierre and four men, three of whom were allegedly shot by police while participating in the protests. The fourth victim, 25-year-old Bernard Vaudreuil, was working as a moto taxi driver when he was shot, said cousin Marie-Ange Laroche. “He was not involved in the turmoil,” she said. “He was just trying to survive.” More than 40 people have been killed and dozens injured in more than two months of demonstrations organized by opposition leaders demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse amid anger over corruption, ballooning inflation and a scarcity of basic goods. The protests have shuttered many businesses and schools across the country as Moïse continues to urge dialogue after stating he won’t resign. The mourners joined a small group of protesters after church services as some of them jogged down the street with one casket while tires burned around them. Among the mourners was Guerline Jeremie, a mother of two whose husband, Desir Jean Belleville, 34, was killed last week. “We want justice for them,” she said of those who died. “I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do to feed these kids.” The United Nations has said that 3.7 million people in the country of nearly 11 million lack access to enough food amid the political turmoil, and that the number is expected to reach 4 million early next year.
  • Croatia’s first-ever presidency in the European Union will come at come at a “critical period” for the 28-nation bloc, outgoing EU leader Donald Tusk said Tuesday. The EU’s newest member could end up in charge of launching the bloc’s post-Brexit negotiations with Britain, the European Council president said after talks with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. Croatia, which joined the EU in 2013, takes over the bloc’s six-month rotating chairmanship at the beginning of January while Britain’s departure from the bloc is now set for Jan. 31. “Your task is not easy,” said Tusk. “It will be a critical period for the EU and we will be relying on your steady leadership.” Tusk expressed confidence in Croatia’s preparation for the job, adding that Croatia also needs to focus on the EU’s enlargement agenda and the volatile Western Balkans. EU aspirations in the Western Balkans have been dealt a blow after France and the Netherlands blocked the opening of membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania. “I deeply believe that you (Croatia) will do everything in your power to restore EU unity and enlargement while demonstrating positive EU engagement in the region,” Tusk said. Tusk was in Zagreb, the Croatian capital, for a meeting of the European People’s Party, the main center-right bloc in the European Parliament. The Polish politician is expected to be elected the leader of the alliance during the two-day gathering. “I am leaving the EU in good hands,” he said.
  • The Latest on the Afghanistan prisoner swap with the Taliban for American and Australian hostage held by insurgents since 2016 (all times local): 10:05 p.m. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the prisoner exchange that freed an American and an Australian as well as a promise by the Taliban to release another 10 Afghan prisoners is a “hopeful sign” that Afghanistan’s relentless war can soon come to an end. Pompeo said in a statement released by the U.S. State Department following the release of American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks that: “We see these developments as hopeful signs that the Afghan war, a terrible and costly conflict that has lasted 40 years, may soon conclude through a political settlement.” The two men were held for more than three years and were exchanged for three ranking Taliban, including the younger brother of the group’s deputy, Sirajuddin, who also leads the terrorist-designated Haqqani group. Pompeo’s statement also commended Afghanistan’s opposition politicians who set aside their differences long enough to allow the exchange to happen and “did not use these humanitarian gestures for personal political gain. “ __ 9:15 p.m. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham says two hostages freed by the Taliban after more than three years in captivity are receiving medical care and other support from the United States government. Grisham says the U.S. welcomes the release of professors Kevin King and Timothy Weeks. King, an American, and Weeks, an Australian, were abducted outside the American University in Kabul, where both work as teachers. Grisham says: “We pray for the full recovery of both men, who endured significant hardship during their captivity, and wish them well as they reunite with their loved ones in the near future.” Their freedom came hours after the Afghan government freed three Taliban prisoners and sent them to Qatar. ___ 5:05 p.m. The family of American hostage Kevin King who was released by the Taliban along with his Australian colleague says that King is now with U.S. officials in Afghanistan getting medical care ahead of his return home. King and Australian Timothy Weeks, both professors at the American University in Kabul, were kidnapped in August 2016 by the Taliban outside the university. King’s sister, Stephanie Miller, says the family s “so happy to hear that my brother has been freed and is on his way home to us.” She adds: “This has been a long and painful ordeal for our entire family, and his safe return has been our highest priority. We appreciate the support we have received and ask for privacy as we await Kevin’s safe return.” King’s brother-in-law, Joe Miller also thanked the U.S. Peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security adviser Robert O’Brien along with “numerous members of the U.S. government who worked tirelessly behind the scenes” for King’s freedom. ___ 4:55 p.m. The Taliban say the freeing of three of their ranking members from Afghan custody in exchange for an American and an Australian hostage held for three years by the insurgents are “good steps for building trust” and something that “can help in the peace process.” Tuesday’s statement by the Taliban called the swap a “positive action.” Among the three released was Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of the Taliban’s deputy Sirajuddin Haqqani. The other two were an uncle Haji Malik Khan and an Haqqani lieutenant Hafiz Abdul Rashid. The two American University of Afghanistan professors who were released are American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks, who were kidnapped in Kabul in August 2016. ___ 3:20 p.m. The American University of Afghanistan welcomed news of the release of their professors, American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks, freed after more than three years in a swap for three high ranking Taliban. The university said in a statement Tuesday that it “shares the relief of the families of Kevin and Timothy” and would look to provide “all the support we can to Kevin and Tim and their families.” Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan was also quick to welcome the release of the two professors. “We appreciate steps taken by all involved to make it possible,” he said. ___ 1:45 p.m. The Taliban say they have freed two hostages — American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks — in southern Afghanistan, ending more than three years of their captivity. A Taliban official says the release took place on Tuesday in the province of Zabul in the Now Bahar district, a region that is largely under Taliban control. It wasn’t immediately known if the two hostages, both professors at the American University of Kabul, were handed over to Afghan government representatives, intermediaries, or U.S. forces. Their freedom came hours after the Afghan government freed three Taliban prisoners and sent them to Qatar. The three included Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of the Taliban’s deputy Sirajuddin Haqqani, who also leads the fearsome Haqqani network. It appears the Taliban had refused to hand over the two professors until they received proof their men had reached Qatar. ___ 11:15 a.m. Three ranking Taliban prisoners released by the Kabul government have been flown to Qatar for an expected swap for an American and an Australian hostage held by the insurgents since their abduction in 2016, Taliban officials said Tuesday. The whereabouts of the two hostages — American, Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks — was not immediately known. The Taliban officials told The Associated Press that the exchange would likely take place on Tuesday. They said the three of their members arrived in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar on Monday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The three include Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of the Taliban’s deputy, Sirajuddin Haqqani, who also heads the fearsome Haqqani network. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani a week ago announced the “conditional release” of the Taliban figures, saying at a press event broadcast live on state television that it was a very hard decision he felt he had to make in the interest of the Afghan people. King and Weeks, the two captives held by the Taliban were abducted in 2016 outside the American University in Kabul where they both work as teachers. The following year, the Taliban released two videos showing the captives. A January 2017 video showed them appearing pale and gaunt. In the later video, King and Weeks looked healthier and said a deadline for their release was set for June 16 that year. Both said they are being treated well by the Taliban but that they remain prisoners and appealed to their governments to help set them free. It was impossible to know whether they were forced to speak. Subsequently, U.S. officials said that American forces had launched a rescue mission to free the two, but the captives were not found at the raided location. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien made separate calls to Ghani on Monday to discuss the prisoners’ release, Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said. The release and swap were intended to try to restart talks to end Afghanistan’s 18-year war and allow for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. The United States had been close to an agreement in September with the Taliban but a fresh wave of violence in the Afghan capital that killed a U.S. soldier brought talks and an impending deal to a grinding halt. The agreement called for direct talks between the Taliban and Afghan government as well as other prominent Afghans to find a negotiated end to the war and set out a roadmap for what a post -war Afghanistan would look like. Ghani in his discussions with Pompeo and O’Brien said he wanted a reduction in violence and an all-out cease-fire, his spokesman said. According to a U.S. State Department statement Tuesday, Pompeo told Ghani the United States was “committed to work closely together to address violence if the President’s decision does not produce the intended results.” ___ Associated Press writer Tameem Akhgar in Kabul, Afghanistan, contributed to this report.
  • Days of protests in Iran over rising fuel prices and a subsequent government crackdown have killed at least 106 people across the Islamic Republic, Amnesty International said Tuesday, citing “credible reports.” Iran’s government, which has not made nationwide numbers available for the toll of the unrest that began Friday, did not immediately respond to the report. A request for comment to its mission at the United Nations was not immediately acknowledged. The Amnesty report comes after a U.N. agency earlier said it feared the unrest may have killed “a significant number of people.” Amnesty added that it “believes that the real death toll may be much higher, with some reports suggesting as many as 200 have been killed.” Iranian authorities have not offered a definitive account of how many people have been arrested, injured or killed in the protests that spread quickly across at least 100 cities and towns. Authorities shut down internet access to the outside world Saturday, an outage that persisted Monday in the nation of 80 million. That has left only state media and government officials to tell their story. State television showed video Tuesday of burned Qurans at a mosque in the suburbs of the capital, Tehran, as well as pro-government rallies, part of its efforts to both demonize and minimize the protests. Absent in the coverage, though, was an acknowledgement of what sparked the demonstrations in the first place. The jump in gasoline prices represents yet another burden on Iranians who have suffered through a painful currency collapse, following President Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal of the United States from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, and the re-imposition of crippling U.S. economic sanctions. Relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani has promised that the fuel price increase will be used to fund new subsidies for poor families. But the decision has unleashed widespread anger among Iranians, like Maryam Kazemi, a 29-year-old accountant in the southern Tehran suburb of Khaniabad, who said the new cost of fuel was “putting pressure on ordinary people.” “It was a bad decision at a bad time. The economic situation has long been difficult for people, and Rouhani unexpectedly implemented the decision on fuel,” she said. Amnesty said it gathered its figures from interviewing journalists and human rights activists, then cross-checked the information. In its breakdown, it showed the hardest-hit areas as the western Kermanshah province and its oil-rich southwestern province of Khuzestan. Many online videos released before the internet outage showed unrest there. “Video footage shows security forces using firearms, water cannons and tear gas to disperse protests and beating demonstrators with batons,” Amnesty said. “Images of bullet casings left on the ground afterwards, as well as the resulting high death toll, indicate that they used live ammunition.” Amnesty, citing eyewitnesses corroborated by video footage, said snipers also shot into crowds of people from rooftops and, in one case, a helicopter. So far, scattered reports in state-run and semiofficial media have reported only six deaths. The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights earlier issued a statement saying it was “deeply concerned” about reports of live ammunition being used against demonstrators. It also urged protesters to demonstrate peacefully. “We are especially alarmed that the use of live ammunition has allegedly caused a significant number of deaths across the country,” spokesman Rupert Colville said in a statement. Colville added that it has been “extremely difficult” to verify the overall death toll. Meanwhile, an article published Tuesday in the hard-line Kayhan newspaper suggested that executions loomed for those who led violent protests. Though the state-owned newspaper has a small circulation, its managing editor Hossein Shariatmadari was personally appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “Some reports say that the judiciary considers execution by hanging for the riot leaders a definite punishment,” Kahyan said, without elaborating. It also repeated an allegation that protest leaders came from abroad. Khamenei on Sunday specifically named those aligned with the family of Iran’s late shah, ousted 40 years ago, and an exile group called the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq. The MEK calls for the overthrow of Iran’s government and enjoys the support of Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Police and security forces remained on the streets of Tehran on Tuesday, but in lower numbers. Traffic also appeared to be flowing better, after part of the demonstrations saw people abandon their cars on major roadways. Authorities postponed four soccer matches in different parts of the country scheduled for Thursday and Friday, the Iranian weekend, according to the semiofficial ISNA news agency. With the internet outage and phone services spotty, it remained difficult to know the situation in some regions. The protests were prompted by a plunging economy. Many Iranians have seen their savings evaporate amid scarce jobs and the collapse of the national currency, the rial, since Trump withdrew Washington from the nuclear deal over a year ago and imposed sanctions. The rial now trades at over 123,000 to $1, compared to 32,000 to $1 at the time the deal took effect. Cheap gasoline is practically considered a birthright in Iran, home to the world’s fourth-largest crude oil reserves despite decades of economic woes since its 1979 Islamic Revolution. Gasoline remains among the cheapest in the world, with the new prices jumping 50% to a minimum of 15,000 rials per liter. That’s 12 cents a liter, or about 50 cents a gallon. A gallon of regular gas in the U.S. costs $2.59 by comparison. The U.N. rights office addressed that background of economic anger across Iran in its statement. “Protests of this nature and on this scale are an indication of deep-rooted and often well-founded grievances that cannot simply be brushed aside,” Colville said. Those grievances could be heard in Khaniabad and elsewhere around Tehran. Several described taking part in peaceful protests later hijacked by violent masked demonstrators. Others heard gunfire. “We were out to protest the gasoline price on Saturday,” said Reza Nobari, a 33-year-old car mechanic. “Suddenly a group of six or seven who covered their faces appeared together and started to break the windows of a bank. This wasn’t what we were out for.” Jafar Abbasi, a 58-year-old who runs a dairy, said he saw another group of people who arrived in a van smash the windows of nearby shops. “Some looted the place and some other quickly disappeared,” he said. He added: “This is all the result of Rouhani’s decision to increase the price of fuel.”
  • The Latest on protests in Iran (all times local): 8:15 p.m. Amnesty International, citing “credible reports,” says it believes at least 106 people have been killed during protests in Iran over government-set gasoline prices rising. Amnesty made the allegation in a report released Tuesday. Iran’s government, which has not made nationwide numbers available for the toll of the unrest that began Sunday, did not immediately respond to the report. Amnesty added that it “believes that the real death toll may be much higher, with some reports suggesting as many as 200 have been killed.” Iran since has shut down the internet and deployed police and anti-riot forces to quell the unrest. Demonstrations are believed to still be going on in the country. ___ 1:35 p.m. A hard-line newspaper in Iran is suggesting that those who led violent protests will be executed by hanging as the unrest continues. An article published Tuesday in the Keyhan newspaper made the claim, though Iranian authorities still have not offered a detailed accounting of the toll of the demonstrations that began Friday over government-set gasoline prices rising. The newspaper said: “Some reports say that judiciary considers execution by hanging for the riot leaders a definite punishment.” It did not elaborate. The protests appeared to be ongoing on Tuesday in some areas of the country, though the streets of Tehran appeared largely calm. It remains difficult to know the scale of the demonstrations. Iran shut down the internet Saturday, stopping protesters from sharing information and their videos online.
  • A protest over election reform erupted on the Caribbean island of Dominica, with more than 200 people fighting police before being dispersed with tear gas, officials said Tuesday. The former French and British colony of about 75,000 residents holds elections on Dec. 6. The opposition United Workers’ Party has been pushing the ruling party to enact reforms that could reduce the ruling party’s electoral advantage. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit’s government has not enacted the reforms, leading to charges of unfairness. Assistant Police Commissioner Richmond Valentine said more 200 protesters clashed with police when they tried to march to President Charles Savarin’s home Monday night to call for reforms. Police fired tear gas after protesters removed street barricades during the confrontation in Roseau, the capital. No fatalities or major injuries were reported. In a televised address Tuesday morning, Skerrit said the protest “signaled the intrusion of violence into the election campaign in a manner that is unfamiliar, unnecessary and unproductive.” Valentine said protesters wanted to see the president to make the case for more rigorous checking of voter registrations and a prohibition on expatriate Dominican citizens returning to vote in elections. The opposition has accused the government of buying voters by providing supporters with tickets home around election time. “That is what they were advocating, that they wanted to see the president,” Valentine said. General Manager Jose Abreu of the nearby Fort Young Hotel told The Associated Press that guests were affected by the tear gas for a brief period, though none needed medical attention. Calls and messages to opposition leader Lennox Linton went unanswered.
  • Brazilian police are seeking the arrest of former President Horacio Cartes of Paraguay as part of an investigation into money laundering. On Tuesday, Brazilian authorities alleged Cartes provided $500,000 to a criminal organization at the request of Dario Messer, a Brazilian associate who was then a fugitive facing corruption charges, prosecutors told reporters. Messer informed Cartes that he needed the funds to pay for legal fees and “it was shown that money was in fact made available,” prosecutor José Augusto Vagos said. Brazil will seek Cartes’ extradition, the federal police said in an email. Authorities said earlier they had asked Interpol to put out a red notice for the arrest of Cartes. Interpol didn’t respond to a request for information. The former president remains in Paraguay and is “at ease because he had no commercial ties to Dario Messer,” his lawyer, Carlos Palacios, told The Associated Press. Earlier this year, Brazilian police arrested Messer, the alleged leader of a group of Brazilian illicit money changers who delivered bribes as part of the “Car Wash” kickback scheme, the biggest corruption scandal in Brazil’s history. The sprawling Car Wash investigation since 2014 has roiled not only Brazil’s business and political elite, but also spread to neighboring countries. The probe revealed the scope of corruption and cozy relationships between the public and private sectors. “In Paraguay, there are no untouchables. Everyone should be accountable,” Paraguay’s President Mario Abdo Benítez told reporters on Tuesday, adding that he would evaluate the Brazilian authorities’ accusations against Cartes. Cartes, 63, amassed a fortune with two dozen companies acting in all sorts of industries, including tobacco, banking, soccer and soft drinks. He parlayed that influence into a presidential run, and served a five-year term through 2018. Cartes often denied accusations that his wealth was fed by money laundering, cigarette smuggling and drug trafficking. Cartes has called Messer his “soul brother,” while Messer referred to him as “Boss,” prosecutors said. They are still evaluating whether Cartes’ alleged participation in the criminal organization was temporary when providing the funds to Messer, or a permanent fixture of the group. Brazilian authorities sought Cartes’ preventative imprisonment on the basis that he could continue to finance the criminal organization, particularly members who haven’t yet been identified, said prosecutor Marisa Ferrari. “There is a strong suspicion that the criminal conduct could be repeated,” Ferrari said. “While Horacio Cartes is no longer president, he still maintains strong economic power and no less political power in Paraguay. He has diverse companies, is one of the country’s wealthiest businessmen, and is a senator.” Cartes was among 20 suspects sought by police. All of the suspects located in Brazil were arrested, while those abroad remain at large, authorities said. ___ Associated Press writer Pedro Servin in Asuncion, Paraguay, contributed to this report.