December 12, 2013
Moreno appeals indictment
Gov’t affirms support for domestic trade secretary
The government doubled down on its defence of Domestic Trade Secretary Guillermo Moreno yesterday as a prosecutor asked a judge to investigate the top executives of the economic consultancy that had filed a lawsuit against the official.
Moreno yesterday appealed Federal Judge Claudio Bonadío’s decision to charge him with abuse of power for fining the head of the Finsoport consulting firm, Jorge Todesca, for publishing inflation statistics that differed from those released by the INDEC national statistics bureau.
At the same time, prosecutor Emilio Guerberoff filed a formal request for a judge to investigate the owners and managers of Finsoport, claiming they were responsible for publishing false statistics. Moreno’s lawyer, Alejandro Rúa, and Cabinet Chief Juan Manuel Abal Medina stood up for the secretary, tying Bonadío with the government’s main rival in the midterm elections — Renewal Front leading congressional candidate Sergio Massa — saying his decision “favours Massa’s campaign.”
“Judge Bonadío is part of the Fepesna foundation and on the organization’s website there’s a photo of him next to Massa — in the middle of an electoral process,” Rúa said. “I have no doubts that the judge has political intentions. Bonadío’s ruling favours Massa’s electoral campaign.”
According to the appeal, the judge’s decision violates the judicial clause non bis in idem (double jeopardy) that says no one can be prosecuted twice for the same felony. Moreno had already been investigated back in 2012.
The legal battle between Moreno and private consulting firms began in 2011 when the Trade Loyalty department of the Consumer Defence Secretariat sent reports to the firms to ask about the methodology they used to collect information. This led to fines against 12 firms, which were later revoked by a court.
Rúa considered Bonadío’s decision “arbitrary” since that initial court case has not yet been finalized. Two weeks ago, Moreno requested the Supreme Court establish if the fines were legal.
Abal Medina insisted Bonadío’s decision to prosecute Moreno is “very striking,” considering the charge comes so close to the October 27 legislative elections.
“The same facts have been analyzed in other federal courts and there was no offence could be proven,” Abal Medina said.
National Director of Domestic Trade Fernando Carro and National Director of Trade Loyalty Adalberto Guillermo Rotella also presented appeals against their indictments.
Bonadío also imposed a 50,069.67-peso lien on Moreno’s assets, basing his ruling on the Article 248 of the Penal Code, punishable with up to a year in prison.
A new investigation
Emilio Guerberoff filed a formal request with a judge yesterday to launch an investigation against managers and owners of Jorge Todesca’s firm Finsoport, charging them with supposedly having created false inflation reports.
—Herald with Télam, DyN