Judge OKs Hunt for Argentine Millions

Judge OKs Hunt for Argentine Millions

Source: Courthouse News Service


LAS VEGAS (CN) – Hedge fund manager NML Capital prevailed in motions to compel two Nevada companies to provide information on 123 shell companies that might be hiding $65 million in embezzled Argentine money.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach on Monday granted motions to compel two Nevada companies to cooperate with subpoenas to help NML determine where the money might be. NML Capital in 2003 initiated 11 collection actions and won a judgment in the Southern District of New York against Argentina to recoup the $1.7 billion owed from Argentine bonds. “NML suspects that former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner and his wife, current President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, awarded lucrative state-controlled projects to two political insiders, Lazaro Baez and Cristobal Lopez, who embezzled billions of pesos in state funds and laundered the proceeds through Nevada,” Ferenbach wrote.

Ferenbach said NML’s suspicion arises from a 2013 investigative report by an Argentine journalist that indicates the Kirchners and Baez embezzled “billions of pesos from public-infrastructure projects” and laundered the money and other embezzled funds through several international shell companies. A prosecutor in Argentina claims Baez used 150 shell companies in Nevada to launder $65 million, and NML says there is “reasonable suspicion” 123 Nevada corporations subpoenaed by NML and identified as “Baez entities” are among the 150 the prosecutor says were used to launder the money, Ferenbach wrote. NML on June 24, 2014 subpoenaed M.F. Corporate Services to obtain information and depose its only employee, Patricia Amunategui, regarding the Baez entities. NML said the court ruled “‘there is no doubt’” the entities are shell corporations and “‘there is no doubt that shell corporations are routinely formed to commit fraud .”

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