JUBA, 22 April 2021 – A man wanted on suspicions of financing terror in Paraguay has reemerged in South Sudan under a different identity.
Ali Khalil Merhil fled Paraguay’s most notorious prison for South Sudan where he established connections to President Salva Kirr, according to a report in Tuesday’s edition of The Sentry.
“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,” wrote Goerges Clooney, Co-Founder of The Sentry.
Merhi now holds the title of honorary consul and now operates a thriving business empire in South Sudan, benefiting from corrupt connections and predatory operations in the world’s youngest nation.
According to The Sentry, Merhi’s business activities include a mining deal with President Salva Kiir’s daughter and a series of suspicious payments to General Malek Reuben Riak, a top South Sudanese military official.
General Riak is under sanctions for corruption, torture, human rights abuses, and widespread violence and destruction imposed by the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations.
The Sentry accuses the South Sudanese government of harboring Merhi for more than a decade, granting him citizenship, lucrative contracts, and the title of honorary consul.
The leaders of South Sudan 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,” wrote John Prendergast, Co-Founder of The Sentry.
Merhi reportedly operates Skyline Contracting Co. Ltd; a South Sudanese company that was approved in 2009 by the United Nations to supply $2.23 million worth of construction materials to the UN procurement division.