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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

WikiLeaks: US warns Argentina lacks 'political will' to eradicate corruption

More than a hundred cables from the US embassy in Buenos Aires warned about the fragility of the judicial system and the impunity of criminals, according to an article recently published by Spanish newspaper El País. The leaked documents also spoke of the lack of a "true political will" to eradicate corruption.

The data was extracted from a report sent to Alberto R. Gonzales, who was a US General Prosecutor before his trip to Argentina.

One the cables involves Planning Minister Julio De Vido in a bribery case.

"A delegate of a German company complained before the minister, saying that one of his assistants had asked him for money," El País says.

“De Vido was not interested in knowing who was the official and recommended him to tape and film the assistant the next time he asked him for a bribe,” the report given by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks explained.

The cables are signed by former Ambassador to Argentina Earl Wayne and by Thomas Kelly, the US embassy in Buenos Aires chargé d’affaires.

Another cable mentions an alleged 15 percent commission that the Argentine government “charged" the private sector as a "negotiation fee".

The report states that Mr. Wayne offered the former Ombudsman, Eduardo Mondino, his collaboration in the midst of an investigation of an alleged bribery case in transactions with a third country, not specified in the cable.

After a few years, investigators found out that the country was Venezuela and that De Vido was involved in the case as well, although the judicial case did not get too far after the ex ambassador in Venezuela, Eduardo Sadous, denounced it.

According to a report sent to Gonzales, “corruption has spread all over the judicial branch and in the police, and it even gets to politics,” adding that the government lacks an “true will” to eradicate it.

The confidential cables state that the Kirchners also investigated other governments, “but do not investigate the accusations of corruption against their own administration."

The documents also report that the 2009 tax amnesty law “raises suspicions” of money laundering and mentions that Argentine officials “offer political posts to judges in order to get benefits from the legal system.”

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Tags:  wikileaks  buenos aires  embassy  alberto gonzales  de vido  corruption  argentina  us  





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