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Mon May 13, 2019, 07:02 PM

Argentina's Extortiongate: Investigating judge to retain case, in a blow to Macri

Argentine Federal Judge Alejo Ramos Padilla, who oversees a case of a massive extortion scheme involving millions in ransom payments and false testimony coerced against political opponents, was confirmed as the presiding judge in the wide-reaching case, known locally as "Extortiongate."

A Federal Appeals Court ruled that transferring the case to Buenos Aires, as requested by Federal Prosecutor Juan Curi, would be "premature, given the early stage of the investigation and the shortage of elements with which as yet to judge the true nature of the illicit organization."

The ruling is a blow to President Mauricio Macri, whose Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) is deeply implicated in Extortiongate.

Macri, who is seeking the judge's impeachment, has close ties to both principals in the alleged extortion ring:

To Federal Prosecutor Carlos Stornelli through the Boca Juniors football club (which Macri headed until entering politics); and to AFI agent Marcelo d'Alessio through d'Alessio's uncle (whom Macri appointed presidential notary public), and through d'Alessio's former law partner - who administers Macri's blind trust.

Those charged thus far include d'Alessio, fellow AFI operatives Ricardo Bogoliuk, Aníbal Degastaldi, Rolando Barreiro, and Claudio Álvarez, as well as Buenos Aires Province D.A. Juan Bidone.

In addition, those named as persons of interest include Stornelli, Federal Judge Claudio Bonadío (to whose court Macri sought to transfer the case), and pro-Macri Civic Coalition lawmakers Elisa Carrió, Paula Olivetto, and Mariana Zuvic.

Carrió, like Zuvic, is well known as a right-wing media firebrand and, according to witness testimony, relied on d'Alessio and Bidone for material.

Shakedown breakdown

Extortiongate began when, on February 8, 22 hours of incriminating tapes collected by farmer Pedro Etchebest, from whom d'Alessio sought a $300,000 ransom, were published by investigative journalist Horacio Verbitsky.

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 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 chief judicial affairs writer for the right-wing daily Clarín, Daniel Santoro.

Santoro, according to the tapes, wrote hit pieces at his behest against those refusing to pay.

The operation, according to testimony from numerous witnesses and d'Alessio himself, also sought false testimony against Macri's opponents - particularly former President Cristina Kirchner, her allies, and Santa Fe Governor Miguel Lifschitz.

Amid a imploding debt bubble and severe recession, Macri is facing job disapproval of 70% and had relied on corruption allegations against Kirchner and her former officials to boost his reelection chances this year.

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&tab=wT&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.infonews.com%2Fnota%2F323378%2Fla-justicia-ratifico-a-ramos-padilla-al

Federal Judge Alejo Ramos Padilla (left), faces stonewalling from Macri, as well as attempts to have the Extortiongate case transferred to a close ally, Federal Judge Claudio Bonadío (right).

Today's ruling stops the push to have the case transferred - though perhaps only temporarily.

Bonadío, known as a "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.

Right-wing Congresswoman Elisa Carrió (middle) has been named by witness testimony as the principal launderer for d'Alessio's material, mostly by way of high-profile media "denouncements" against opponents.

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Reply Argentina's Extortiongate: Investigating judge to retain case, in a blow to Macri (Original post)
sandensea May 2019 OP
Judi Lynn May 2019 #1
sandensea May 2019 #2

Response to sandensea (Original post)

Tue May 14, 2019, 04:00 AM

1. Oh, wow! This situation is a raging wildfire, now! My gosh. Surely hoping Ramos Padilla has security

capable of protecting him as the honest legal people try to get this shocking mess to trial!

I went to try to find another photo of Judge Alejo Ramos Padilla:

Found it with this article, which is amazing, from earlier this year:

(google translation)
Who is Alejo Ramos Padilla, the judge of the case against Stornelli and D'Alessio

The magistrate was threatened with a weapon by the repressor Miguel Etchecolatz, who called him at his house to harass him. Profile of the judge who uncovered the "cloaca" of Comodoro Py.

(Luciana Bertoia)

MARCH 21, 2019

When last Friday the Government announced that it was going to seek the dismissal of federal judge Alejo Ramos Padilla , one of the inmates of the Ezeiza prison must have received the news with special joy: Miguel Osvaldo Etchecolatz . The anger is old.

The former Director of Investigations of the Buenos Aires Police during the dictatorship was the first genocide to sit on the bench of the defendants after the annulment of the laws of Due Obedience and Final Point. In 2006, the complaints that accused him of kidnappings, torture and disappearances in the province of Buenos Aires asked the Federal Oral Court 1 of La Plata to revoke the domiciliary. Why? Because he had a firearm.

One of the plaintiffs' lawyers was Ramos Padilla, who represented María Isabel "Chicha" Chorobik de Mariani , the founder of Abuelas. In addition to a lawyer, he himself had had contact with the weapon and had struggled with the repressor to prevent him from "making a target" on his father, Judge Juan Ramos Padilla.

The Ramos Padilla had gone to the apartment in which Etchecolatz lived in 2001 to seize him because they had won a trial for slander against Alfredo Bravo, a survivor of the dictatorship and leader of the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights (APDH), in 1998 and the Police had never paid. The cross between the genocide and the master was immortalized in a program by Mariano Grondona in 1997, in which Etchecolatz denied having tortured him , but, with total cynicism, said that they had made a treatment that had allowed him to heal his flat feet and plantar callus . The other slanders had arisen from his book The Other Bell of Nevermore.


This judge has the a criminally insane mob out after him, intent upon completely subverting justice.

Politics there looks incredibly violent! (It may easily be as violent here, it's quite possible. We're just in the dark, of course.)

Looks as if these people are fairly brazen about things.

Ramos Padilla certainly has proven he is enormously courageous to have not fled the country, already. Clearly Macri's buddies are more than happy to do whatever they think is needed, until they are stopped, to keep that facist system going as long as there is ANY more profit to be made, before giving themselves all immunity, and withdrawing.

Thank you for the incredible news. Things look as if they've just gotten more ominous. Hoping so much good might prevail, before the election.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #1)

Tue May 14, 2019, 02:40 PM

2. Politics were indeed quite violent there in the past, off and on. Now they're mostly just ruthless.

That said, Macri has taken the ruthlessness to another level. Though not exactly an unprecedented level:

Macri's show trials against opponents are very reminiscent of the witch hunts against Peronists after the 1955 coup against Juan Perón.

Around 2,000 Peronist officials were detained by the Aramburu dictatorship, with many paraded around in high-profile show trials with enthusiastic help from corporate media.

But despite confessions extracted under duress, only 167 were charged with any crime (corruption or otherwise) and ultimately none were convicted. Many, however, were stripped of their property and valuables.

The 1976 dictatorship revived the tactic, with hundreds of prosperous entrepreneurs and families being forced to sign over their businesses and properties without due process by way of the "National Reparations Commission" (CONAREPA).

And since Macri's administration is many ways an ideological heir to those regimes - with many of the same last names and policies - his resorting to lawfare to rid himself of opponents was entirely predictable.

As was, of course, the debt crisis and economic collapse he's leaving behind.

Thanks as always for replying with such well-researched material, Judi. Really adds a lot to anyone reading this, who'd like to familiarize themselves with all the drama in Argentina. Always the drama!

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