An Argentine antique dealer who offered to sell a copy of an old document that he claimed would destroy the Argentine historical case for sovereignty over the Falklands, has been turned down. According to this week's Penguin News edition, the Secretary of the group Asociación Civil de Amigos Malvinas/Falklands (ACAMF) Gabriel Di Bernardo made contact with the Islands in October last year.
He offered to sell the Falklands Government what he claimed to be a copy of an important ancient document from Argentina’s Congressional archives for 2.5 million Euros, cash.
Mr. Di Bernardo, who is also an antique dealer, said he was acting in his private capacity and not as Secretary of ACAMF. Mr. Di Bernardo asked for the cash in 500 Euro notes to be delivered to a location in Rosario.
Penguin News asked Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Gavin Short if the Falklands government had been approached about the document.
He said that he and others were aware of the claim by Mr. Di Bernardo regarding the document, “that he claims to have found… and the rather startling amount that he wanted for it.”
MLA short said: “We have not formally ever held a meeting about this issue but have spoken to each other and are of the opinion that we will not be parting with tax payer’s money on something that we have not seen, nor know the authenticity of, nor know whether it’s legally the gentleman’s property to sell.
“The gentleman himself has never, to my knowledge, approached the Falkland Islands Government directly about the document.”
MLA Short continued: “There is plenty of evidence already available that destroys the credibility of the Argentine claim,” and yet they still persisted.
His opinion was even if the document made it clear the claim was “hogwash,” the Argentine government would in any case dismiss it. He noted that Mr. Di Bernardo was, “part of Ricardo Gomez Kenney’s ‘Falklands reconciliation group’ or whatever they call themselves who say that they want to examine all evidence no matter whether it helps or hinders the Argentine claim, yet here we have one member of that group, saying that he has a document which will help us and is not prepared to make it available to either us or the Argentines without a huge amount of money changing hands…”
He added: “It makes you wonder whether the gentleman should be part of such a group and indeed I know the group is aware of his activities and are not doing anything to try and make the document publicly available which also brings their credentials and credibility into question.”
He concluded saying: “If we had a few spare millions I would rather spend it (after a new power station) on buying and on-selling what remains of the FIC and not on something we have neither seen nor been contacted directly” (Penguin News).