Tuesday, March 31, 2020

ARGENTINA | 01-04-2019 17:13

Ramos Padilla offers Bonadio open access to controversial espionage case

Judge Alejo Ramos Padilla is investigating a close associate of Judge Claudio Bonadio's, the federal prosecutor Carlos Stornelli, over alleged espionage and extortion.

In the latest twist to the extortion and espionage scandal rocking Argentina's Judiciary, investigating judge Alejo Ramos Padilla on Monday offered his colleague Claudio Bonadio full access to the case.

Bonadio works in tandem with Federal Prosecutor Carlos Stornelli, who is implicated in the scandal, in numerous investigations into alleged corruption during the previous Kirchner administrations.

Opponents of former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner say Ramos Padilla's investigation is an attempt to stymie Bonadio and Stornelli's work.

On Monday, Ramos Padilla also formally requested that Judge Sebastián Casanello release of the testimonies of Leonardo Fariña, who secured a plea bargain in the so-called "K-money route", which looks at alleged money laundering involving the Kirchners, Télam reported.

He also summoned the lawyer Gabriel Bouzat, a former parter at the legal practice of current Supreme Court Chief Just Carlos Rosenkrantz.

Ramos Padilla invited Bonadio to access the investigation after the judge reportedly requested the transcript of Ramos Padilla's recent statement to Congress about his investigation.

"Aware of your interest in knowing about what I presented to the National Congress' Cross Chamber Committee on Intelligence Bodies and Activities, regarding a case which is under my direction and which is not subject to secrecy, I dispose of the relevant information for you to access, if you deem it necessary", Ramos Padilla wrote to Bonadio.

Access to the documentation would allow Bonadio "to address... any doubts in relation to its progress and objectives", he added.

Ramos Padilla slapped Stornelli with an "in abstentia" ruling on Thursday, after the prosecutor failed for a fourth time to appear in his Dolores court house to give testimony in the investigation.

Stornelli is accused of using a frontman, the phoney lawyer Marcelo D'Alessio, to extort money from witnesses in exchange for favours. 

His defence lawyer, Roberto Ribas, has argued that Ramos Padilla and the Dolores Federal Court had no jurisdiction over the case, which should instead be sent to the central Comodoro Ry courthouse in Buenos Aires.

Ramos Padilla faces a Magistrate's Council decision over his dramatic public appearance in Congress last week, where he gave a fiery presentation about his findings so far. The Macri government and its allies argue Ramos Padilla is biased and acted in contempt of Judicial norms. The Council's Disciplinary committee met Monday for a preliminary meeting on the matter.


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