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Financial Crimes
09/12/2008

Uruguay's most wanted fugitive extradited

ICE led investigation results in return of international fugitive wanted for embezzling more than $800 million from South America

Juan Peirano Basso, an international fugitive
Juan Peirano Basso, an international fugitive

MIAMI -   U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, U.S. Diplomatic Security Service agents, TSA officials, Deputy U.S. Marshals, Miami Dade Police Officers and Uruguayan INTERPOL representatives assisted in the extradition of Juan Peirano Basso, an international fugitive wanted by the Uruguayan government for money laundering following an ICE led investigation. ICE Office of Investigations worked in close coordination with Uruguayan INTERPOL, the U.S. Embassy in Montevideo, and the Uruguayan Judicial Branch to identify, locate, and apprehend this individual.

"Today's extradition of Peirano is a stellar example of cooperation and partnership between law enforcement and government authorities in the United States and Uruguay," said Steven Kleppe, ICE Attaché in Buenos Aires, Argentina. "The hard work and perseverance of the agents involved in this complex investigation now ensures this individual will face justice for his alleged crimes."

On September 9, 2008, Peirano, a lawful permanent resident from Uruguay, was extradited from the United States to Uruguay to stand trial for money laundering violations.  He is accused of embezzling more than $800 million in funds from various financial institutions in Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina, South America.  The U.S. Marshals Service remanded Peirano to the custody of Uruguayan INTERPOL authorities at the Miami International Airport, who escorted him on a return flight to Uruguay on Tuesday, September 9th.  Peirano arrived the morning of September 10th at Montevideo International Airport in Uruguay and is now in the custody of the Uruguayan authorities pending trial in the First Criminal Court of Uruguay, chaired by Judge Graciela Gatti. 

While serving as the Chief Executive Officer for Banco Velox in Argentina, Banco Montevideo in Uruguay, Banco Aleman in Paraguay and the Trade Commerce Bank in the Cayman Islands, Peirano is alleged to have defrauded several banking institutions in South America of more than $800 million in U.S. currency. The government of Uruguay branded Peirano as the country's most wanted fugitive as a result of his actions, which are believed to have caused the collapse of the Uruguayan economy and to have caused the South American Financial crisis of 2002.

The investigation was initiated by ICE Attaché Buenos Aires agents after Uruguayan authorities requested assistance from the ICE Foreign Corruption Investigations Group in researching and identifying financial and asset information relating to Peirano.  On May 19, 2006, Peirano was arrested by ICE Foreign Corruption Investigations Group agents in Miami. ICE Attaché Buenos Aires agents and ICE's Foreign Corruption Investigations Group agents coordinated Peirano's extradition with the U.S. Embassy in Montevideo, the Uruguayan Judicial Branch and Uruguayan INTERPOL.