(Washington, DC) – Last Friday, Argentinean journalist Jorge Lanata and the Center for Investigative Journalism in the Americas filed a motion to intervene in the case NML vs. Argentina in the United States District Court of Nevada, requesting that the Court unseal the deposition testimony of Patricia Amunategui, sole employee of MF Corporate Services in Nevada. Lanata and CIJA alleges that sealing this testimony violates the rights of the press and of the people at large, as guaranteed to them under the First Amendment and long-standing traditions of Common Law.
The hearing to determine whether the deposition transcript ought to remain sealed is currently scheduled for 12 December 2014. Applicants have a significantly protectable interest in this case. Jorge Lanata in particular, has been covering the case from its outset, and has played a vital role in providing the public with information regarding this case. For the last two years, he has been conducting an investigation known as the “Kirchner Money Route”, through which he demonstrated that Kirchner cronies were laundering millions of dollars coming from corrupt activities through a vast networks of shell companies and shady financial institutions in Argentina, Uruguay, Panama, Switzerland, Seychelles Islands and the U.S., among others.
This investigation was then used by NML Capital Ltd., a hedge fund who holds a judgment against Argentina for more than $1.7 Billions (see NML Capital Ltd. vs. Republic of Argentina), as the main source of evidence to produce information about 123 companies in the State of Nevada that may point to the location of Cristina Kirchner’s assets in the United States and abroad. NML Capital Ltd. was able to depose a key witness to the “K-Money Route”. However, that deposition is being sealed by the request of the parties.
The media has a vested interest in court proceedings, and the public in the United States, Argentina, and beyond have a strong interest in how these courts are being used in this dispute. Furthermore, if Applicants are not permitted to intervene and view all court records and evidence in support of those documents, they will suffer great impairment, as they cannot perform their Fourth Estate function without access to public documents.
Randazza legal group represented Mr. Lanata and the Center. This law firm is well known across the United States for its strong representation of free speech and Free Press rights. “The Free Press is of no value if it has no access to information that is rightfully owned by the people,” said Marc John Randazza.