For years, Pablo Escobar’s brother worked as an accountant in the brutal Medellín Cartel as it reinvented the global cocaine trade.
Now, he’s got his eyes set on a new market to disrupt: smartphones.
Roberto Escobar, 71, is releasing a foldable phone through his investment company, Escobar Inc. It’s called the Escobar Fold 1, and it’s named after his brother.
Escobar Inc. CEO Olof Gustafsson told CNN that the screen is made of a proprietary plastic that “makes it almost unbreakable,” claiming that it is the “most durable telephone screen on the market.”
Prices start at $349. The phone uses Google’s Android operating system.
“Our phone has gone through rigorous testing,” Gustafsson said. “The only true way to break our phone is to burn it, which I would imagine an average user would not do.”
From prison to smartphones
The company was formed by Roberto Escobar in 1984 as a holding company for “assets and value protection” for the Escobar brothers, according to its website.
There were, at the time, quite a bit of them.
Pablo Escobar was reportedly responsible for trafficking 80 per cent of the world’s cocaine during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Forbes put Pablo Escobar on its list of the world’s billionaires from 1987 until 1993. Escobar was shot and killed on December 2 in his hometown of Medellín while a fugitive from Colombian authorities.
Roberto surrendered to the police in 1992 during a crackdown of the Medellín Cartel, and he spent 10 years in prison for drug-related crimes. After his release, he set up a tour of one of his brother’s homes as a business and once claimed that he discovered a breakthrough in finding a cure for AIDS.
Now, half-blind and half-deaf from a letter bomb that went off close to his face in prison in 1993, Roberto has dreams of becoming a smartphone maker by following in the footsteps of Samsung with its Galaxy Fold.
“We want to beat the competition,” Gustafsson told CNN. “We figured out very fast that if we make a good telephone that folds for a reasonable price, we can sell many units. And that is what is happening now.”