The Casa Rosada committed to increasing its security today, after news surfaced that a journalist covering the Executive’s daily activities was detained on Friday. Juan Illescas, working for Radio Integral, a station based in the Entre Ríos province, stands accused by the Formosa Province’s Judiciary of stealing cattle and forgery of signatures and public documents.
Illescas’ whereabouts were uncovered by police when he attempted registration to cover the G-20’s meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, which took place last weekend in Buenos Aires. He was detained on Friday while leaving his house in the neighborhood of San Nicolás.
Speaking to press, Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña said “[this record he had at the provincial level] actually surfaced as a result of a check conducted by the government in the context of the G-20.” “This further cements the work being done at the Casa Rosada, so come August we implement an access system that is connected to the country’s security databases,” added Peña, who nonetheless conceded that Illescas’ arrest warrants did not “pop up” when the government analyzed his 2017 Casa Rosada press pass request.
Illescas started covering the Casa Rosada’s daily activities in 2016; he recently partook in the latest press conference held by President Mauricio Macri at his Olivos residence.
However, he did not receive a salary from the station for which he worked. In an interview with TN, radio director Jorge Rubén Mendieta said Illescas was “limited to covering official information and was not paid any money.”
“He’s from our town, from Maciá. He went to Buenos Aires and from there started to interact with other journalists, until he asked us to get him a press pass [for the Casa Rosada] to keep us informed about official news from any area of the national government,” he added.
Beyond these alleged crimes, Clarín reported this afternoon that there might be more to this case that meets the eye. “Sources highlight the ties the 49 year-old journalist has with private security and intelligence companies,” reads a paragraph of the article written by Ignacio Ortelli.
“Illescas is not part of any national intelligence agency, but if he was someone’s ‘snitch,’ it will be extremely difficult to [prove]. Either way, his case is not clear,” the article concludes.