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Ephedrine Traffic: Kirchner’s Cabinet Chief in the Crosshairs Again

By: Raquel García - @venturaG79 - Jun 23, 2016, 2:43 pm
Aníbal Fernández has repeatedly denied that he knows any of the people responsible for the murder of three pharmaceutical company executives, linked with the ephedrine traffic in 2008. (Infobae)
Aníbal Fernández has repeatedly denied that he knows any of the people responsible for the murder of three pharmaceutical company executives linked with the ephedrine traffic in 2008. (Infobae)

EspañolThis weekend, the most wanted man in Argentina, Ibar Pérez Corradi, was finally detained in Brazil.

Pérez Corradi is accused of being the brains behind the 2008 crime involving General Rodríguez, in which pharmaceutical executives Sebastián Forza, Damién Ferrón and Leopoldo Bina lost their lives. According to local press, they sold ephedrine to Pérez Corradi, who exported it to the Mexican Sinaloa cartel. The problem started when the executives supplied an adulterated shipment to take him out of business.

The brothers Cristian, Martín Lanatta and Víctor Schillaci have already been found guilty for the crime. The three of them were part of a spectacular escape at the end of 2015.

From jail, Martín Lanatta accused Cristina Kirchner’s former Cabinet Head of being behind the murders and of directing the ephedrine traffic into the country. This Tuesday, June 20, he accused Aníbal Fernández again of being an “assassin” and a “drug dealer.”

“He’s the ideological author of the crime and the one that commanded the ephedrine trade over the last few years,” Lanatta said in an interview with La Red radio station.

“He’s a drug dealer and a guy who has people killed. He’s a killer,” he added.

He said the same judges that sentenced him are also the same officials he made favors for, per the request of Fernández himself.

Lenatta explained that Pérez Corradi limited himself to financing Forza, one of the murdered people, but wasn’t involved in the crime.

“I explained to [Judge] Servini de Cubría that the only maneuver I witnessed from Pérez Corradi was the financing of Forza. Pérez Corradi has no links to Mexican cartels,” Lanatta said.

“Forza operated [the traffic of ephedrine] until Aníbal Fernández took away his business. Aníbal Fernández with intelligence people takes away his business because he ends up handling 90 pecent of the ephedrine business. Aníbal used to handle it,” he said.

“You don’t need to see bags being tossed into a convent to know what Kirchnerism took. Today, Aníbal Fernández is the richest guy in the Buenos Aires province, he’s the richest criminal born in the Province … Nobody knows who he is. He was in politics to enrich himself,” he added.

In a piece of the interview, Lanatta referred to the former President Cristina Kirchner as “Mom.”

“I used to handle the gun register freely by order of Aníbal Fernández. That is why mom … put him as head of ministers, because he was the best collector,” he said.

“I want her [Cristina Kirchner] to come out, and I’m going to name a company much bigger than Austral [the company of Lázaro Báez]. Néstor Kirchner used to call on its owner to take the bags of money. She, and a very important senator, Nicolás Tito Fernández, will have to give a lot of explanations.”

The political cost

In 2015, Martín Lanatta gave an interview to journalist Jorge Lanata in which he accused Aníbal Fernández of commanding ephedrine traffic in Argentina. This interview caused an uproar when Fernández was the candidate for Kirnchnerismo to the governor’s office in the province of Buenos Aires, the most populated in the country.

Fernández ended up losing the elections in October, to María Eugenica Vidal, the province’s current governor.

After his defeat, Fernández accused Canal 13, Clarín and La Nación of costing him the election.

“You know that you have important business that as governor I would check on. Those who grieved me so much like Canal 13, Clarín and La Nación are linked to business that have a lot of money, and surely understood I wasn’t the right one for those businesses to prosper,” he said.

Aníbal Fernández has always denied his link to the crime of General Rodríguez and to the ephedrine business. He denied knowing Pérez Corradi and those condemned over the murders of the pharmaceutical companies. No formal investigations against the former chief of the cabinet have been started on this matter.

In the midst of the uproar caused by Pérez Corradi’s detention, after four years missing, Fernández decided to make a long trip to London to represent the Argentinian Confederation of Field Hockey (CAH), of which he is president. Even though the trip seemed suspicious, sources close to the former cabinet chief say it had already been scheduled.

During the trip to London, the former Kirchnerist official was insulted by another passenger. The same situation occurred with another official of the previous administration Carlos Zanini when he was trying to take a flight to the city of Miami last April.

 Pérez Corradi’s expectations

The government expects Perez Corradi, who is detained in Paraguay, to give important information to advance the investigations into ephedrine traffic.

“We hope Pérez Corradi will aim up. Our intention is to reach the final link on the chain,” the Minister of Argentinian Security Patricia Bullrich said. Argentina already filed for extradition, but he doesn’t want to come back, as he fears for his safety.”

Minister Bullrich claimed that if she were Aníbal Fernández, she “would be worried” over the detention of Pérez Corradi.

“I don’t worry, and it seems healthy that if this gentleman has anything to do with these crimes, he should be detained,” the former Kirchnerist official said.

Source: Clarín, La Nación.

Raquel García Raquel García

Raquel García is a Venezuelan journalist with over 16 years of experience in digital outlets and radios. She currently lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Follow her @venturaG79.