A rector, a vice-rector and a customs officer walk into a trial… What may sound like the premise of a terrible joke, was something of a reality in the federal courts today, as members of the Argentine Seventh-day Adventist Church Association were found guilty of using “trickery and deceit” in order to smuggle goods through customs.
The scandal took place last July, yet the clandestine clergy were indicted only a matter of hours ago, by Judge Adrián González Charvay. Carlos Gill Krug, the group’s president, as well as Carlos Giménez Graf, Roberto Giaccarini, Oscar Ramos, Jorge de Sousa Matías and customs officer Nilda Saira, were found guilty today, after attempting to pass off 2,000,000 pesos worth of goods purchased abroad as a donation to the Adventist University of the Plata, in Entre Rios.
The final judgement, so to speak, was given after González Charvay found the men guilty of abusing the status of the Association – as a not for profit, educational, religious, charity, which afforded them certain exemptions – to avoid paying the required importation taxes. “They relied on the presentation of falsified documents at customs in order to carry out the operation,” the judge found.
The holy goodie bag was mainly made up of electrical items, including tablets, iPhones, HP Pavillion laptops, Apple iMacs, 6 Tera byte hard drives, 75 inch television screens, a film camera and a digital sound mixer, well as medical equipment. All in the name of the Lord, right… Yet it also contained medical supplies, the majority past their expiration date, or without their original packaging.