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ARGENTINA | 21-12-2019 10:16

De Vido, Baratta freed from jail; Stornelli indicted by Ramos Padilla

Former federal planning minister Julio de Vido and his ex-second-in-command at the ministry, Roberto Baratta, left Ezeiza prison last Saturday, after the Federal Chamber of Cassation annulled a ruling.

The Chamber ordered Federal Oral Court 7 (TOF 7) – in charge of the so-called ‘Cuadernos de los Coimas’ corruption notebooks scandal – to cancel a previous ruling denying their release and issue a new one, which paved the way for the release of the ex-Kirchnerite officials.

TOF 7 had rejected a previous request for their release, but the superior tribunal decided that De Vido and Baratta had been imprisoned for more than two years and that there was no fear of the two fleeing the country or obstructing ongoing investigations.

Sources linked to the former minister confirmed to Télam that De Vido “is in his house in Zárate accompanied by his partner Alessandra Minnicelli and his son.”

De Vido must still comply with a house arrest ruling imposed by another court, relating to an investigation into alleged public works graft at a coal mine in Rio Turbio.

Baratta, although he has not granted house arrest, meets the requirements for an electronic ankle bracelet.

In related news, Carlos Stornelli – the prosecutor who has found himself at the centre of controversy related to the Cuadernos probe – was indicted on Wednesday on charges of forming part of an “illicit association” and for an alleged “dereliction of duty of a public official by federal judge Alejo Ramos Padilla, who also ordered the seizure of 10 million pesos (US$159,000) in assets.

He did not request his arrest under pre-trial attention, as Stornelli enjoyed immunity from prosecution thanks to his post, the judge said.

The charges are related to the alleged illegal espionage of socalled “fake lawyer” Marcelo D´Alessio.

In the filing, Ramos Padilla accused Stornelli, previously in charge of the Cuadernos case, of “acting in promiscuous form” with D’Alessio, a specialist in drug-trafficking and an agent of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency who was acting as his lawyer and is now detained.

“Stornelli clearly appears tied to the illicit activity [...],” the judge said.

The accusations have a newfound political relevance this year after Ramos Padilla informed Congress that he was investigating a “network of political espionage and illicit judicial behavior of grand magnitudes.”

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