On Sunday, local news site El Destape released testimonies of two people rejecting having contributed to the Cambiemos campaign, even though the political coalition had formally informed that they had. The event, currently being investigated by three different courts, is the latest episode of the ongoing scandal brought to light by journalist Juan Amorín and comes after a series of audio recordings surfaced in which Tierra del Fuego National Deputy Gastón Roma could be heard confessing that he forged thousands of endorsements for the PRO leg of the Cambiemos coalition in the 2015 and 2017 elections.
El Destape got ahold of this list of donors to the PRO campaign and interviewed two people who claim that they “never” signed any endorsement to the party. “I was told my name was on the list, but I never signed it,” said Susana Curletto, one of the two victims interviewed. “They must have forged my signature.”
The other interviewee on the list, Silvana Mingi, confessed to having been a member of the party at the time of the campaign, however says that she never endorsed it in any way. “I even left shortly after the campaign because I didn’t want anything to do with the government,” she said.
Allegedly, the party used a list of social welfare recipients to falsify huge amounts of donations that ranged between AR $300 and AR $1,500 to launder money into their 2017 midterm campaign. And recently, a leaked audio clip of National Deputy Roma reveals that they also used the identities of middle-class donors to donate larger sums of money to the 2015 election — between AR $20,000 and AR $25,000 — in order to cover up funding from entities that they wished to remain anonymous.
In terms of the judicial investigations into this scandal, Federal Judge Ernesto Kreplak is currently in the process of hearing more testimonies from donors on the list who say that they didn’t actually make any donations.
However, there is precedent to question the reliability of these governmental investigations. Ariel Lijalad, a journalist working for El Destape believes that the government is taking steps to ensure that no official consequences are handed out. Interim Attorney General Eduardo Casal removed human rights prosecutor Hernán Schapiro from one of the cases — a move that Lijalad believes was made in order to get a conservative prosecutor on the case to ensure that it gets ruled favorably for the Cambiemos party.
In addition, an activist secretly recorded Roma in a restaurant openly discussing some more of the illicit cover ups that take place behind the scenes. He said that he went to a “judge in Buenos Aires” and confessed that he was guilty of laundering money. The judge simply told him to “forget about it,” and that if he took action with the case it would just “go around for two years and then drop out.” The judge allegedly continued by saying that “everyone [launders money], so it wouldn’t go through the courts anyways.”