December 19, 2014
Campagnoli likely to be removed Wednesday
Public prosecutors leading the case say ‘irregularities had been clearly proved’
The public prosecutors leading the case against José María Campagnoli predicted yesterday that the suspended prosecutor would most likely be removed from his judicial post this Wednesday, when the jury’s verdict in the case is expected to be announced.
Marcelo García Berro and Adolfo Villate both said in an interview that they believed the jury would make the ruling “in accordance with what they (have) requested,” since they thought the “irregularities had been clearly proved.” They also branded the judicial process “totally transparent.”
In the interview, published in Página/12 yesterday, García Berro and Villate added that the trial had “respected the right to defence,” and “all the guarantees” provided by the Constitution despite the court having ruled against them in many of their legal requests. The prosecutors will present their final arguments tomorrow, with a verdict expected to be reached on Wednesday.
Villate hit out, in reported quotes, at what he deemed the “flagrant modification” of an investigation led by Campagnoli, involving Federico Elaskar. In the case, Elaskar was originally the subject of a probe concerning “fraudulent administration by the financial consultancy firm SGI.” Villate alleged in Página/12 yesterday that the suspended prosecutor used his influence to shift the focus of the investigation to how Elaskar was a victim of extortion.
“What is notable is that the crimes of fraudulent administration or extortion, weren’t investigated. This last charge was used as a pretext to investigate another crime, money-laundering,” claimed Villate.
The public prosecutor believes that Campagnoli knew what he was doing was unacceptable, as “the judge presiding over the case had said it was not under his jurisdiction and transferred the investigation to Judge Sebastián Casanello. But despite this, “Campagnoli started a parallel investigation, imposing himself on Casanello’s case,” said Villate. “This has all been proved,” he added.
García Berro too added his voice to the growing accusations against Campagnoli, claiming the impeached prosecutor had “made photocopies and filed a complaint — like the case was his — for threats made against him, virtually stealing the case from Casanello.”
He added that Campagnoli had stolen the case from the prosecutor: “This is not only abuse of authority and malfeasance... there could be a serious crime here.”
Pressing their case, the prosecutors argued that, in their eyes, all the accusations laid against Campagnoli had been proven in court, including the alleged “leaking of confidential information from the investigation,” which supposedly frustrated attempts to collect evidence. One example they highlighted concerned raids ordered by Judge María Lanz, which were publicly leaked before they occurred.
Villa Mitre ‘photo’ lawsuit
Residents of the Barrio Mitre neighbourhood in Buenos Aires City, supported by Victory Front (FpV) lawmaker Leonardo Grosso, filed a legal action this weekend demanding that the full photographic archive of the neighbourhood’s residents, made by Campagnoli, be destroyed.
The suit, submitted to prosecutor Cristina Caamaño on Saturday — who is working as a temporary replacement in the Saavedra district attorney’s office — requested “the immediate delivery of photographic records and data” held by the “attorney’s office,” as well as the elimination of the records “of those that are implicated.”
At least 20 residents of Barrio Mitre have confirmed that they were photographed by hidden cameras, put up by Campagnoli throughout the neighbourhood, so he could compile photos and data about the residents.
According to the complaint, this information was“allegedly obtained and used in a irregular manner with discriminatory means, including that of minors, in clear violation of the Constitution.”