Everybody knows Pablo Escobar as one of the wealthiest and most powerful people ever lived. But where did Pablo Escobar money go after his death? Who got their hands on Escobar's fortune? Let’s find out!
How much money was left after the death of Pablo Escobar?
By the time he died, the infamous Colombian drug overlord had managed to amass quite a fortune. According to most sources, Pablo Escobar net worth by 1993 (the year he died) was a whopping $30 billion! It was said that at one point he was earning $420 million per week, so the first number does not seem all that shocking.
What was surprising, though, was that Escobar had managed to amass that much in the first place, taking into account the large sums of money he spent. A lot of his wealth was spent on various bribes that undoubtedly helped him keep his status as a drug overlord, while the rest was spent on keeping up his Robin Hood image. The man often was so wasteful with cash that he spent thousands on rubber bands that kept his money stacks together.
Nevertheless, El Patron died, his estate was left to be taken. However, things were not quite that simple. Considering the fact that most of Escobar’s money has been earned in highly illegal ways, it makes sense that not all of it would have been kept in the same spot, let alone in a regular bank account. Thus, to help you understand better how his wealth was distributed, we'll divide it into four categories:
- The first category is for liquid assets, such as regular cash, paintings, cars, farms, houses, etc.;
- The second category is for assets that have been hidden in easily accessible spots, such as the jungle, caves or even secret compartments of Pablo Escobar's house;
- The third category is for remote or hidden assets, which means that they might have been laundered through a foreign business, stored in foreign bank accounts, etc.;
- The fourth category is for everything else, but mostly for lost assets, such as those that have been spent on gaining or hiding the money. The assets in this category are almost the stuff of legend, as Pablo could just write off 10% of his money each year just because ‘rats ate it’.
As you can see, Pablo kept his money strewn all over the place, which is why a big chunk of his wealth is still unaccounted for. But more on that later. First, let’s talk about the players who became much richer after the death of El Padrino.
What happened to the money after Pablo Escobar's death?
It would probably not surprise you when we tell you that a large portion of Don Pablo’s money went to the Colombian government. The man was a criminal after all, so it would only make sense for the government to take over his money. That is, the money that could be traced back to Escobar and his associates, meaning the assets from the first and the third categories.
As for the assets from the second category, things get a little bit more interesting. After Pablo’s death, two criminal groups that considered themselves rivals of the Escobar’s empire decided to grab a piece of his estate for themselves.
These groups were Los PEPES (‘Persecuted by Pablo Escobar’) and the Cali cartel. With the help of the members from Pablo’s own Medellin cartel, they were able to recover a big portion of money from this category. They also forced Escobar’s family to sign over whatever liquid assets were left behind by the government.
That said, not all the money from the second category have been recovered to this day. As Pablo kept most of his hiding spots in his head (there was no physical map), a lot of them are still out there, undiscovered. Who knows, maybe next time when you go exploring the jungles of South America, you might come across a suspiciously lump plastic bag full of money or something more illegal.
The last category is obviously gone, most likely without a trace, as Escobar did not really think about preserving his wealth.
What went to Pablo Escobar family?
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By now, you might be wondering why we have said so little about Pablo’s family and their part of his inheritance. That is because Escobar did not actually have a designated amount for either of his children or any other relatives in case of his death. Out of his six siblings, only two of them (Roberto and Alba Marina) had somewhat of an access to his estate.
After Escobar’s death, his family spent whatever money they could get their hands on to make sure they were safe. At first, they were able to buy out an entire floor of a hotel and have guards protecting them around the clock, but this proved to be too expensive, especially when no new money was coming in and the old hiding spots were running dry.
When most of the money ran out, the family was forced to move from country to country, as late Escobar’s enemies (such as the aforementioned Los PEPES and the Cali cartel, among many others) tried to take however little they had left. After jumping between countries, the relatives of the deceased Pablo Escobar settled in Argentina, where they lived like a regular run-of-the-mill middle-class family, using whatever was left of the money from the second and third categories.
And that is all we can tell you about the fate of Pablo Escobar’s wealth. The man was surprisingly bad at keeping his money in check, which is why some people are still finding the remnants of his empire. If you are one of those few ones, share your story with us! :)
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