After arresting Zanola and LorenzoMonday, November 30, 2009
Judge says top official may be arrested over medicine mafia case
After Secretary General of the Bank Clerk's union Juan José Zanola was arrested this morning along with his wife as part of the investigation that Federal Judge Norberto Oyarbide is leading in the medicine mafia case, the judge told reporters that a high-ranked official working at the Buenos Aires province Health Ministry may be arrested within the next hours.
Oyarbide mentioned that "beside the seven pople arrested early this morning, there could be more raids and arrests may also include officials."
Secretary General of the Bank Clerk's union Juan José Zanola was arrested this morning along with his girlfriend Paula Aballay, along with pharmaceutical businessman Néstor Lorenzo after a judicial probe linked Lorenzo to Zanola, and holds charges of counterfeiting medicine and selling adulterated medications at the health centre of the Bank Clerks union in the city of Buenos Aires.
Judge Oyarbide established that there was a close relation between Néstor Lorenzo and José Zanola. Lorenzo is the owner of San Javier pharmaceuticals, a company pointed to be part of the smuggling web since it is believed to have adulterated medicines that were sold to public and private health centres.
A total of seven people were arrested by the personnel of the Division of Technical Investigations Unit of the Federal Police that carried several raids, all within Buenos Aires City, and taken to the Division's offices located at Gurruchaga 2400. The rest of the arrested are: Susana Fiona, Carlos Horacio Torres, María Victoria Berisso, and Sergio Gustavo Blanco.
Last week more than 30 raids in the City were ordered by the Judiciary and numerous files and documentation were seized to be analyzed by Judge Oyarbide.
Also last week, Oyarbide had indicted with pending trial detention Del Plata Pharmaceutical's directors Alejandro Martino, Bernardo Hogan, and Alexia Bergari.
Martino was indicted as "the boss" of a criminal association while Hogan and Bergari as "organizers". Oyarbide considered that Del Plata pharmaceutical was also dedicated to commercialize counterfeit, adulterated and past its use-by date medicine.
As part of the so called "tampered medicine mafia", President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner had signed a decree ordering to take over the Bank Clerks' union health insurance after Oyarbide filed a writ to the government asking the Kirchner administration to place the Health Care service of the Bank Clerks' union under a trusteeship.
Former Health Minister Graciela Ocaña, who started denouncing the smuggling web, told reporters that "Oyarbide has all the necessary elements in order to arrest these people", and added, "everything indicates they are all part of a criminal association, and Zanola will know have to explain his relation with Lorenzo."
Ocaña also told the press how she's been exposed to threats and espionage: "I was threaten many times since I reported the whole case, plus I've gotten emails with transcriptions of conversations I had held via email or telephone."