Home | News    Wednesday 21 April 2021

Wanted Paraguay "fugitive" now involved in business dealings in South Sudan, says report


April 20, 2021 (WASHINGTON) - A "fugitive" who fled criminal charges and suspicions of terror financing in Paraguay, has reemerged in South Sudan with an altered identity and title of honorary consul, a new report revealed.

JPEG - 46.1 kb
A copy of Ali Khalil Merhi’s South Sudanese passport (The Sentry)

The report, released by The Sentry on Tuesday, details how Ali Khalil Merhi allegedly operates a thriving business empire while benefiting from corrupt connections and predatory operations within the world’s youngest nation.

Titled, “The Metamorphosis of Ali Khalil Merhi: How a One-Time Fugitive Found Fortune in South Sudan,” the investigative report reveals Merhi’s journey from Paraguay’s most notorious prison to South Sudan where he established connections to the President Salva Kiir and his inner circle.

His business activities, it says, include a mining deal with the president’s daughter and a series of suspicious payments to General Malek Reuben Riak, a top South Sudanese military official now under the United States, European Union and United Nations sanctions for corruption, torture, human rights abuses, and widespread violence and destruction.

"In 2000, Ali Khalil Merhi fled charges of counterfeiting, accusations of links to terror financing, and requests from Argentine prosecutors to question him about a deadly 1994 bombing in Buenos Aires. Two decades later, Merhi has reemerged—with a new spelling of his name and a new business empire,” said George Clooney, Co-Founder of The Sentry.

It accuses South Sudan of habouring Merhi for more than a decade, granting him citizenship, lucrative contracts and the honorary consul title.

John Prendergast, Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: "In South Sudan, the leaders of the country who have hijacked state institutions and undermined the rule of law for their own financial gain have enabled Ali Khalil Merhi to evade the consequences of his alleged misconduct for years. But governments, law enforcement agencies, and banks have the tools to change that.

He added, “By acting swiftly, they can build meaningful accountability for individuals like Merhi and send a message that South Sudan should not be a safe haven for international criminals and other corrupt operators."

The fugitive reportedly operates Skyline Contracting Co. Ltd; a South Sudanese company that was in 2009 approved by the UN to supply $2.23 million worth of construction materials to the UN procurement division.

J.R. Mailey, the Director of Investigations at The Sentry, said while Merhi’s journey from a prison cell in Paraguay to the corridors of power in Juba is nothing short of remarkable, his ascendance in South Sudan should not come as a surprise.

“This is the reality of business and politics in a state captured by a lethal criminal network. Merhi benefits from the same fundamental feature of South Sudanese politics as those at the helm of the country’s government – a prevailing environment of impunity,” stressed Mailey.

He added, “Without accountability and consequences for violence or predatory conduct, criminals will continue to dominate both politics and business in the world’s newest nation.”

Meanwhile, the report urged the US Department of the Treasury to investigate and, if appropriate, sanction Merhi and his network of companies, as well as his South Sudanese partners and other international facilitators.

It further appealed to South Sudan government to enforce its anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism laws.

South Sudan government was not immediately available to comment.


Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

Darfur ethnic attacks must be fully addressed 2021-05-06 04:16:34 Ahmed Elzobier A series of blunders have contributed to the tragic situation in Sudan’s West Darfur region and continue to expose civilians to violence, notably among them the premature (...)

Give credit they deserve 2021-04-30 21:13:25 Ngor Arol Garang While the visit of the government delegation to Chad had triggered debates and depictions in social media reflective of a comic dramatic work using buffoonery and horseplay and (...)

South Sudan elections must be held on time 2021-04-18 07:30:37 The Government is bent on postponing the elections: a response to the statement of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs dated 14 April 2021. By Lam Akol The Press Secretary of the President of (...)


Latest Press Releases

S. Korea supports UN communities building resilience project in Sudan’s Blue Nile 2019-09-09 09:26:41 UNDP Sudan September 5, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - An agreement was signed on 5th of September between the Korean Ambassador, His Excellency. Lee Ki-Seong and Dr. Selva Ramachandran, Resident (...)

Sudanese lawyers and Human rights defenders back calls for civil rule 2019-04-26 10:22:06 Press statement by 55 Sudanese lawyers and Human rights defenders on Sudan Sit-in and Peaceful Protest Khartoum -24/04/2019 We, the undersigned (55) Sudanese lawyers and human rights defenders, (...)

South Sudan’s Lafon youth condemn killings of civilians by Pari community 2019-04-03 21:54:29 Press Statement on the Fighting between Pari/ Pacidi and Lotuko/Lokiri on 24/3/2019 Release by The Lafon County Youth Union: We, the Lafon County Youth Union hereby condemn the atrocities and (...)


Copyright © 2003-2021 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.