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Fri Apr 12, 2019, 08:50 PM

Argentina's Extortiongate: Three former intelligence operatives indicted

Former Argentine Intelligence Agency (AFI) operatives Ricardo Bogoliuk, Aníbal Degastaldi, and Rolando Barreiro, were indicted today on charges of illicit association and espionage.

The three were indicted by Federal Judge Alejo Ramos Padilla as part of an ongoing probe into a massive extortion scheme involving millions in ransom payments, warrantless surveillance on political and media figures, as well as false testimony coerced against opponents of Argentine President Mauricio Macri.

The Extortiongate case took an international turn when a raid on AFI asset Marcelo d'Alessio's home on February 13 uncovered CIA, U.S. Embassy and Israeli Ministry of Defense documents, and evidence of operations against Uruguay and Venezuelan oil company PdVSA - part of the Trump administration's push to freeze PdVSA's overseas assets.

Both U.S. Ambassador Edward Prado and AFI chief Gustavo Arribas, a longtime business partner of Macri's, deny involvement.

Shakedown scheme

Today's indictments follow those for d'Alessio on February 25, after 22 hours of incriminating tapes collected by farmer Pedro Etchebest, from whom d'Alessio sought a $300,000 ransom, were published.

The tapes, made throughout January, show d'Alessio boasting that some $12 million in bribes had been coerced from victims since August 2018, that political opponents had been “framed,” and that Federal Prosecutor Carlos Stornelli “managed” the enterprise.

Audio, video, and WhatsApp messages show a close working relationship between the two - as well as with Security Minister Patricia Bullrich and the the chief judicial affairs writer for the right-wing daily Clarín, Daniel Santoro.

Santoro, according to d'Alessio, wrote hit pieces at his behest against those refusing to pay.

One alleged victim, public contractor Mario Cifuentes, testified on March 26 that Santoro did so last year after d'Alessio failed to obtain a $1.2 million bribe.


Carlos Stornelli was charged with illegal espionage against his own ex-wife on March 6 but has refused to cooperate; he was declared in contempt on March 27.

The alleged mission, entrusted to d'Alessio, according to the Etchebest tapes included "planting drugs" on her lover's baggage - a plot similar to one found in d'Alessio's files involving a 2018 plan to link Santa Fe Governor Miguel Lifschitz to a violent drug gang known as Los Monos as part of a smear campaign.

Spies like us

Bogoliuk and Degastaldi - both former police captains recruited by the AFI - reported to d'Alessio, according to the latter's statements to the court.

The two are also under investigation by Buenos Aires Governor María Eugenia Vidal - a top Macri ally - for allegedly investigating her personal life at Macri's behest.

Barreiro's testimony prompted Giselle Robles, former attorney for convicted tax evader Leonardo Fariña, to reveal his client had been coached by the AFI to provide false testimony against former President Cristina Kirchner.

Fariña, according to d'Alessio, received 200,000 pesos ($4,600) monthly from Bullrich in return. The racketeering case against Kirchner, known as the "K Money Route," was dismissed as without merit on November 12.

Another prosecutor charged in the d'Alessio case, D.A. Juan Bidone, testified on April 10 that he improperly implicated a candidate for governor in 2015, Aníbal Fernández, on d'Alessio's instructions.

Fernández lost that year to Vidal.

Too close for comfort

Macri has close ties to both principals in the alleged extortion ring:

To Stornelli through the Boca Juniors football club, which Macri headed until entering politics.

And to d'Alessio through d'Alessio's uncle (whom Macri appointed presidential notary public), as well as through d'Alessio's former law partner, who administers Macri's blind trust.

Macri had already been indicted in 2009 for using Buenos Aires city police to illegally wiretap both critics and allies - even a brother-in-law; the case was dismissed when he became president in 2015.

The case has become an unforeseen political headache for Macri, already facing unlikely re-election prospects this year amid an economic crisis and job approval ratings of 24%.

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&tab=wT&sl=es&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldestapeweb.com%2Flas-coimas-stornelli%2Framos-padilla-proceso-ex-agentes-la-afi-y-amplio-los-cargos-contra-dalessio-n58561

Federal Judge Alejo Ramos Padilla (left), faces not only stonewalling from the Macri administration; but also attempts from another Federal Judge, Claudio Bonadío (right), to have the Extortiongate case transferred to his court - where, critics believe, the case would quickly be buried.

Bonadío, known as Macri's "napkin" judge for his willingness to follow the president's agenda, is the public face of Argentina's weaponized judiciary against opponents.

Intelligence operative Marcelo d'Alessio played a key role by coercing false testimony (and payouts) from witnesses, coaching others, and helping concoct evidence.

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Reply Argentina's Extortiongate: Three former intelligence operatives indicted (Original post)
sandensea Apr 2019 OP
Judi Lynn Apr 2019 #1

Response to sandensea (Original post)

Fri Apr 12, 2019, 10:07 PM

1. This vicious illegal abuse of power is being revealed as larger, and larger, day by day,

than any sane person would have dreamed possible.

Macri, and his confederates, and it seems there are hordes, have been moving behind the scenes to bend everyone to their will to get more power daily, and keep it.

Can't remember hearing that Macri already had illegal wiretap charges which he could get dropped by simply getting elected to a powerful job 10 years ago.

Surely Macri's luck is going to run out some day.

So good to know his popularity as at 24%. Under ordinary circumstances he wouldn't stand a chance in the upcoming election.

Doesn't seem anything can be trusted to predict he would lose, since by a standards he shouldn't be in any office now!

I think we have to assume Trump has been using some of the same tricks we are learning about which have been already used by Macri's people. There is no reason on earth either man should have that much power, with no close threat immediately in the wings.

This is an extraordinary report, sandensea. Thank you, so much, for sharing so much new information to process.

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