Prosecutors in the eastern Uruguayan department (province) of Maldonado have formally accused Marcelo Balcedo of money-laundering, smuggling and arms-trafficking, requesting that judges hand the former Argentine union leader an 11-year prison term.
Balcedo, the owner of the La Plata-based newspaper Hoy and the ex-general secretary of the Minority and Educational Workers and Employees Union (SOEME), was arrested back in January at his mansion in Punta del Este, Uruguay. At the time, police found luxury cars, weapons and US$500,000 in cash. He has been imprisoned ever since.
Uruguayan prosecutor Alejandro Machado requested he be handed an 11-year jail term for "money-laundering, repeated crimes of [moving] contraband and the crimes of the international trafficking of firearms, ammunition, explosives and other related materials."
Machado also requested that Balcedo's wife, Paola Fiege, receive 10 years in prison for "money-laundering and repeated crimes of moving contraband," an official statement revealed.
Fiege is currently being held under house arrest, due to the young age of the couple's children.
The prosecution also requested "the seizure of all previously seized property" owned by the union leader, whose mansion included a spa and private zoo. Officials say in total they have confiscated some US$6 million in cash from his properties and holdings.