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ARGENTINA | 17-08-2018 11:27

'Triple Escape' trial begins with explosive allegations against ex Kirchner gov't official

The case centres around the New Year's Eve escape from General Alvear Prison of the convicted murderers, brothers Martín and Cristian Lanatta, and Víctor Schillaci.

Attention in Argentina was this week firmly set on the fast-moving pre-trial investigation into corruption in the public works sector.

However, on Wednesday a similarly scandalous case was brought before the courts with the trial into the so-called "triple escape" beginning at Criminal Court 1 in the city of La Plata, Buenos Aires province.

The case centres around the 2015 New Year's Eve escape from General Alvear Prison of the brothers Martín and Cristian Lanatta, and Víctor Schillaci.

Eventually recaptured after nearly three weeks on the run, they had been previously sentenced for the 2008 General Rodríguez triple homicide, when three suspected ephedrine-traffickers allegedly linked to the financing of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s 2007 presidential campaign were gunned down. 

ANIBAL FERNANDEZ

"They used us for election, to damage Aníbal Fernández. It was more dangerous being in jail than to escape", Martín Lanatta told judge Juan José Riuz in testimony.

"If I did not retract my accusations, they were going to kill me", he added. Lanatta is in jail for the murders of Sebastián Forza, Damián Ferrón and Leopoldo Bina in 2008.

He was referring to accusations he made on star journalist Jorge Lanata's Periodismo Para Todos program in which he incriminated then Buenos Aires province gubernatorial candidate Fernández, a highly questioned former strong man in the Cristina Fernández de Kirchner government.

On Thursday, Aníbal Fernández told the C5N news channel: "I got over the the pain and anger a long time ago and I knew about this, so it's nothing new".

"They are trying to defend themselves regarding their own escape, which is important for the Argentine people (to listen to) because many times they make judgements based on what the television says and don't know that this was provoked and invented to damage a candidate, and they achieved it", he added.

LANATTA ON LANATTA

"First they set up that interview on Lanata's program where I had to include Aníbal Fernández in the General Rodríguez case", he told judge Ruiz, without explaining who had obliged him.

Lanatta said Fernández's lawyer approached him after the programme asking him to "deny everything".

Later, prison authorities offered to facilitate his escape if he retracted his statements against Fernández.

"We had no other option. We either escaped or they would kill us", he claimed.

The Lanatta brothers and Victor Schillaci will face four trials in total.

-TIMES

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