Cristina Kirchner’s Cronies Money Laundering Operations – The Case in Nevada

For the last two years, Argentinean journalist Jorge Lanata 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, Panamá, 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.

On Friday, December 5th, Jorge Lanata and the Center for Investigative Journalism in the Americas filed a motion to intervene in the Nevada case, 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.

A week later, on Friday, December 15th, Judge Ferenbach authorized Jorge Lanata’s motion to intervene, and granted our lawyers access to the sealed information, citing James Madison in The Federalist Papers. “If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” It was a wonderful display that the Judge understands the importance of our Motion and will advocate for the First Amendment.

In the court order, that was filed right after the hearing finished, the Judge said that: “In addition to experiencing a depression and sovereign-default crisis, Argentina has been plagued by allegations of political corruption. Former President Néstor Kirchner and his wife, current President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, allegedly awarded lucrative state-controlled projects to various political insiders. The business dealings of two Kirchner insiders are relevant here: Lázaro Báez and Cristobal López. In August of 2014, NML demonstrated reasonable suspicion to believe that Báez laundered embezzled state funds through Nevada”.

The Center for Investigative Journalism in the Americas will continue to monitor the development of this case, in an effort to promote transparency and public accountability in Argentina.

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