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News > Argentina

Argentina: Christina Kirchner's Prosecutor is Being Prosecuted for Espionage, Extortion

  • Federal prosecutor Carlos Stornelli is under investigation in a scandal that has rocked Argentina's judiciary.

    Federal prosecutor Carlos Stornelli is under investigation in a scandal that has rocked Argentina's judiciary. | Photo: Efe

Published 16 March 2019

A federal prosecutor warned that evidence against fellow prosecutor Stornelli could affect relations with the U.S., Venezuela, Uruguay, and Israel.

Federal Judge for Dolores in Buenos Aires, Alejo Ramos Padilla is investigating evidence suggesting that Federal Prosecutor Carlos Stornelli partook in an illicit espionage and extortion scheme using a frontman, Marcelo D'Alessio.

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Stornelli, lead prosecutor of the pre-trial investigation into allegations of corruption and graft against former president and current senator Christina Fernandez de Kirchner and other former government officials, is under investigation for allegedly using a frontman to extort money from business people tied to an ongoing and labyrinthine corruption scandal linked to politicians, journalists, and the judiciary.

Lawyer Marcelo D'Alessio was arrested Feb. 27 on charges of extortion and espionage. He is accused of operating on Stornelli’s behalf to spy on and extort agribusinessman Pedro Etchebest in exchange for protection in the ongoing investigation into widespread graft during the previous Kirchner administrations, known as the "notebooks of corruption" scandal.

Stornelli was summoned March 7 to appear before Casal to answer to allegations he was involved in extortion and bribery carried out in his name by D'Alessio, but he did not show up to his court date.

"Yes, the prosecutor who was photographed, filmed, recorded and Whatsapped with D'alessio extorting businessmen... did not show up to give an investigatory statement in which said extortion maneuvers are investigated.” Former president Senator Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said.

Following Padilla’s summons, Argentina's interim Attorney General Eduardo Casal opened a disciplinary investigation over Stornelli’s alleged illicit actions.

The federal prosecutor Padilla said the extortion scandal has shaken Argentina's political, judicial and journalistic elite, and is a reflection of a "Judiciary in crisis," given the significance and implications of the cases Stornelli investigates as a federal prosecutor.

Padilla warned that the evidence "could jeopardize" Argentina's diplomatic "relationships with the United States, Venezuela, Israel, and Uruguay because it is an organization which was involved in various activities in various countries."

In a fiery speech from her seat in the Senate, Kuchnir said that the judiciary "has done with my cases what they haven't done with anyone else's."

"And what's up with those people who are filming, recording, photographing, WhatsApping and asking for bribes in beach shacks", she added, referring to damning images of D'Alessio and Stornelli in Pinamar, on Argentina's coast, as well as WhatsApp screenshots damaging to Stornelli's image.

For many lawyers, prosecutors and leaders of the world, the prosecution against Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is part of a Lawfare strategy used to undermine and attack left-wing and progressive governments in Latin America. These Lawfare cases are carried out through controversial legal processes. On Tuesday, Brazil's former presidential candidate Fernando Haddad, a member of the Workers Party (PT), denounced the Lawfare campaign against leftist leaders of Latin America.

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