Businessman Paolo Rocca should remain out of prison for now, according to a federal prosecutor who this week rejected calls for authorities to lock him up under preventative arrest.
The CEO of the Italo-Argentine construction firm Techint is under investigation in the so-called "notebooks of corruption” case because of alleged kickbacks his company alleged paid from lucrative public works contracts to former officials of the Néstor and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner administrations.
Federal Prosecutor Germán Moldes rejected his colleague Carlos Rívolo and Carlos Storelli's request to override ruling Judge Claudio Bonadío's decision to lay charges against Rocca but without a corresponding preventative arrest order. Moldes also refused to move against Bonadío's decision to spare former Cabinet chief to Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Juan Abal Medina, from preventative arrest.
In his presentation to the Chamber 1 of the Federal Tribunal, Moldes argued that Rocca and Abal Medina did no present any "procedural risks” that would justify placing them under pre-trial arrest. He made similar arguments about Abal Medina's former secretary Martín Larraburu and businessman Alberto Padoan and Rubén Aranda.
Judges Pablo Bertuzzi and Leopoldo Bruglia will make a decision on the matter shortly. Last week, they decided to uphold Bonadío’s ruling that former head of state Fernández de Kirchner should stand trial for allegedly orchestrating the kickback scheme.
The "notebook" scandal has seen more than 50 people charged, including former top Kirchner government officials and some of the biggest names in Argentina's construction sector. The case is based on detailed records kept by former Planning Ministry driver Oscar Centeno, which were investigated by the La Nación daily newspaper.
Bonadio has set a bond of US$103 million on Rocca and banned him from leaving the country. It is believed that decision has been appealed.
The charges against him have not stopped the top businessman from mixing in his usual circles. In October, he was pictured at a B20 event attended by President Mauricio Macri and last Friday he attended the G20 'Argentum' gala event at the Teatro Colón, at which world leaders were present.