Buenos Aires Times

economy SET-BACK FOR TAX OFFICE

Court backs Cristóbal López’s plan to save his Oil Combustibles firm

Comercial Court judge Javier Cosentino rejected the arguments for bankruptcy that the AFIP tax office had presented in order to collect the firm’s overdue taxes. 

Thursday 12 April, 2018
Disgraced oil and media tycoon Cristobal López.
Disgraced oil and media tycoon Cristobal López. Foto:Perfil-Stock

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The disgraced oil and media tycoon Cristóbal López received some good news yesterday: a commercial court has granted him a seven-day period, starting Wednesday April 11, for parties interested in buying shares in his petroleum firm Oil Combustibles SA (OCSA) to make offers.

The decision means López’s company has another opportunity to avoid bankruptcy.

The ruling Commercial Court judge Javier Cosentino said the company was “in conditions to access a cram down”.

Media tycoon Cristóbal López arrested, jailed on charges of tax evasion

The process known as “cram down” “has the aim of allowing the reorganisation of a firm without liquidation, maintaining its activity in the market. This situation is convenient given that it protects jobs”, the magistrate said in his ruling, which was published by Noticias Argentinas.

With his decision, Cosentino has allowed “the creation of a registry, to last seven days, whose aim is that those parties interested in acquiring shares in the social capital of the corporation, register”.

Cosentino rejected the arguments for bankruptcy that the AFIP tax office had presented in order to collect overdue taxes of the firm owned by López and his associate Fabián de Sousa, which total around US$500 million.

Time runs out for Cristóbal López

The judge defended his decision arguing that it is “convenient” because “it protects jobs, (and) the supply of goods and services related to the entrepreneur’s own business is continued with all the direct and indirect benefits that this entails for society in general and for the State "

The company has been intervened since February, and will remain so until its complex legal situation is resolved. 

López was jailed in December on a preventative detention order, but released in March. Prosecutors allege his company benefited from the leniency granted to it by the the previous AFIP administration to fund other business ventures including a pro-Kichner media empire that includes the C5N television station and radios. 

-TIMES

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