Lomas de Zamora surrogate judge Luis Armella on Wednesday enjoined Karina Moyano, daughter of veteran trade unionist Hugo Moyano, to hand over to the courtroom 600,000 pesos and US$434,000 within the framework of money-laundering charges.
The amount matches the sum that was seized from her home in a court-ordered raid investigating a drug-trafficking case. Karina Moyano must now justify the origin of those funds.
The drug-trafficking probe began in 2018 in the Lomas de Zamora federal courtroom with PROCUNAR special drug prosecutor Diego Iglesias. Several house raids followed, including on an address identified as Karina Moyano’s home.
The case was tried by judge Juan Pablo Augé, while delegated in the PROCUNAR, but while replacing his colleague during the court holiday last summer, judge Federico Villena acquitted Karina Moyano, also returning her money.
Villena has since been denounced for this before the Council of Magistrates. Upon returning from his holidays, judge Augé quashed the decision of his colleague and ordered Karina Moyano to return the money – a decision now upheld by the Federal Appeals Court of La Plata and Armella. Nevertheless, their decision can be appealed by the Moyano defence lawyers to the Federal Appeals Court to be in turn referred to the Federal Criminal Cassation Court.
“The fact that this case had been delegated to a public prosecutor implies a transfer of the responsibility for the investigation to the judge trying the case, making it more serious since Villena was at the time of his decision a holiday judge,” said judge César Álvarez, especially since the case had been virtually dormant for so long before Villena’s abrupt ruling.
The federal appeals court judge dismisses the “lawfare” arguments of Karina Moyano’s defence lawyers as to “manifest hostility” towards the Moyano family or “persecution.”
Appeals court colleague Jorge Di Lorenzo agreed that “the circumstance that judge Villena had no knowledge of the case at the time of his resolution nullifies it,” also underlining that among “a series de irregularities” ignoring the participation of a public prosecutor did “irreparable” harm to the validity of his decision.