A Buenos Aires Court of Appeals today acquitted President Mauricio Macri from money laundering charges in the investigation that was opened last year as a result of the journalistic investigation known around the world as the “Panama Papers” case.
However, this doesn’t mean that Macri is off the hook. The Court determined the case will stay open and will be split and sent to different divisions within the Judiciary, which will separately investigate the his involvement in other potential crimes: on the one hand, the division of economic crimes will determine if the off-shore companies Macri was a part of engaged in tax evasion.
The other, known locally as Ordinary Justice will investigate whether Macri knowingly omitted declaring his participation in the companies and if that means that he broke the law.
First instance Judge Sebastián Casanello had reached the same conclusion in April, but Prosecutor Federico Delgado appealed the decision, saying that parts of the investigation remained incomplete and that splitting the case would make it much harder for him to conduct thorough research. However, the Court of Appeals confirmed Casanello’s ruling. Since the new prosecutor before the Appeals Court, Germán Moldes, this time arrived to the same conclusion, the case will now effectively be split into two.
In case you forgot, the Panama Papers case was a worldwide scandal last year, a result of a journalistic investigation conducted by media outlets around the world that analyzed 11.5 million leaked documents from the Panama-based firm Mossack Fonseca. The investigation revealed the what was going on behind the curtain in the realm of tax evasion and shady financial activities of the world’s elite.
Macri’s, who had recently been inaugurated, saw his name appear as the director of an offshore company called Fleg Trading Ltd and as vice-president of another called Kagemusha. The government has officially stated that the companies belonged to Macri’s father, Franco Macri, and that there were no registered transactions.
Macri and his administration have denied any wrongdoing. Because he allegedly didn’t make any money off the companies listed in the Panama Papers, he wasn’t legally required to mention the companies in his tax statements from 2008 and 2009, the years during which the companies existed.