Monday
September 25, 2017

AFI head declines first invitation to attend hearing but will receive summons over allegations he received US$850,000 in bribes

Friday, May 19, 2017

Arribas to face Congressional scrutiny over bribery claims

Allegations by a Brazilian financier that Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) Chief Gustavo Arribas received US$850,000 in bribes have earned the spy boss a date before a Congressional intelligence committee.

Last week, Leonardo Meirelles, a Brazilian doleiro (illegal financial operator), said that Arribas had been bribed with US$850,000 in 10 transfers, and that the money could have arrived to two bank accounts in Switzerland. Meirelles was one of the managers of RFY Import & Export, a company based in Hong Kong, created by Odebrecht for graft schemes all over the world. Meirelles is currently serving time for his role in the massive car wash (Lava Jato) scandal.

Arribas has denied the accusations and his lawyers accused Meirelles of lying and have filed an extradition request for Meirelles. Sergio Rodríguez, the prosecutor in charge of administrative investigations, sent the Brazilian prosecutors leading the Lava Jato investigation a request for information on Tuesday.

The AFI head was invited to appear before the Bicameral Intelligence Monitoring Committee this week but declined to attend. As such, the Committee unanimously agreed to formally summon Arribas in the near future and Radical (UCR) Senator Juan Carlos Marino said that Arribas has made a “mistake” in not attending. Marino, chair of the committee, said that he felt Arribas’ written answers to Victory Front (FpV) questions from several months ago were sufficient for him but there wasn’t a consensus within the committee on that point. Marino encouraged Arribas to cooperate with the courts as he announced that a formal summons was being prepared. The senator noted that there had been appeals during the meeting, which is held behind closed doors, for Arribas to be suspended from his post until these allegations had been cleared up.

Arribas was previously cleared in this case by Federal Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral but following an appeal that case may be re-opened.

Despite the new allegations, President Mauricio Macri continued to stand by the intelligence chief, who also happens to rent his old apartment on Libertador Avenue. “This doesn’t worry me at all ... the information that Arribas presented was clear and (Justice) Minister Germán Garavano has said already everything about what is happening in the Justice sector,” said Macri.

When the intelligence chief was first accused, he first claimed that the transfers didn’t exist. He then changed his story and claimed it was only a US$70,000-dollar amount, and that it was to pay for an apartment. He then changed his story again, saying that it was money to purchase furniture.

Herald with Télam

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