The Argentine government admitted that a confidential communication channel with the US on financial operations was interrupted mid 2009 following Washington’s suspicions that data sent to Buenos Aires was used for political purposes.
“We have a problem with the exchange of information” admitted Argentina’s chief of Financial Information Unit, UIF José Sbatella, who tried to decouple the Executive from the suspicions blaming the “information leaks” most probably on the Judiciary or the prosecutors.
Sbattella said that nevertheless the Argentine government is working to re-establish the exchange of data on suspicious operations of money and assets laundering by private individuals and companies.
The Argentine official claimed that the blocking of the communication channel impeded Argentina from having access to privileged information to advance on investigations on money and assets laundering possibly linked to terrorism, among which those involving the so called “triple-border” shared by Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, known as a smugglers’ haven.
The interruption of information exchange with the US Treasury Department Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, (FINCEN) was triggered following the publication mid 2009 of confidential information requested by Argentina’s UIF in the Buenos Aires daily Página 12, which is very close to the Kirchner administration.
Fincen immediately closed the information channel terminating the “memorandum of understanding” with Argentina’s UIF.
“Who’s running the show, the anti-laundering operation in Argentina? Are you sure it’s you?” was part of the strong questioning from furious US Fincen officials following the leak, revealed Sbattella.
Sbatella said that UIF has implemented stricter security controls including demanding magistrates and prosecutors sign a “confidentiality document” when having access to sensitive information received from the United States.