Social media finance celebrity Carlos Maslatón testified in court on Friday that La Libertad Avanza, his former ally Javier Milei’s coalition, charges would-be candidates as much as US$60,000 to stand on the bloc’s electoral ballots.
“[The coalition members] look for people who are able to contribute financially, not because of their political capacity or suitability,” said Maslatón, testifying before prosecutor Ramiro González in Comodoro Py federal courthouse.
Milei says the claims are part of a “smear campaign” and welcomed the judiciary’s intervention. “Excellent! Now all those people saying unfounded nonsense will have to go in front of a court and see if they stand by their words,” he tweeted upon hearing of González’s investigation.
On Thursday, González opened a preliminary investigation into La Libertad Avanza (LLA) presidential candidate Javier Milei on allegations of corruption after several former allies publicly claimed that candidacies for the upcoming elections are for sale within the coalition.
“I’ve heard complaints from different sectors, from people who don’t know each other, who reached out to me because of my high profile on social media,” said Maslatón under oath, according to Télam.
“I began to think that candidates were chosen depending on how much they can give. Potential candidates pay this money to [Milei’s] inner circle, his sister or his political organizers.”
Maslatón, who testified for a little over an hour, said that in return LLA authorities allow the name and coalition campaign to be used, and offer a visit from Milei to the place where the candidate will run.
“They killed political activism,” he stated, adding that what LLA does is “political franchising.” Maslatón provided the names of at least two people who had contacted him, including an activist from Avellaneda, a district in Buenos Aires province, who said coalition authorities said she needed US$60,000 to stand as a candidate for them.
“It looks like someone put a price on candidacies (…) they seem to think that if you get elected to public office through a ballot supported my Milei, the proceeds have to be shared with his close allies”, said the social media star, adding that the money was negotiated outside of formal channels
Although González planned to start interviewing witnesses next Tuesday, Maslatón asked to testify this Friday given that next week he would be traveling. Businessman and politician Juan Carlos Blumberg, who has publicly claimed that the libertarian coalition sells candidacies, and former LLA activist Mila Zurbriggen, are among those expected to appear before the court next week.
-with information from Télam