Former Argentine President Mauricio Macri has been charged with espionage against the relatives of the doomed ARA San Juan submarine. Upon deciding the measure, Federal Judge Martín Bava Wednesday ruled the former head of state be banned from leaving the country.
The ARA San Juan sank in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in 2017, killing all 44 crew members on board.
In his ruling, Bava argued that, after analyzing the evidence and questioning him, the defendant apparently is criminally responsible for the crime of having ordered prohibited intelligence actions against relatives of the accident's victims.
Macri was told of the magistrate's decision while on e trip to Chile. He claimed it was a political persecution that ends in this, which we all already knew and that it is more uncomfortable for the Argentine Judiciary to have judges like Judge Bava.
Bava banned Macri from leaving the country but ordered no preventive arrest and set bail in the amount of AR $ 100 million (around US $ 500,000 at the unofficial exchange rate).
The measure will become effective once MAcri returns from Chile.
The sinking of the ARA San Juan, in which 44 people died, occurred in November 2017. But the relatives of these victims were not the only ones spied on. Agents also monitored the relatives of two other sunken ships: the fishing boat El Repunte, which sank in the Argentine Sea on June 17, 2017 and caused the disappearance of 10 sailors; and the ship Rigel, which set sail on June 5, 2018 from the port of Mar del Plata (400 kilometers from Buenos Aires) and lost contact four days later off the coast of Chubut in the middle of a storm, with nine lives lost.
Macri is also under investigation for allegedly shipping ammunition to Bolivia's military during the uprising which resulted in Evo Morales' resignation and the accession to power of Jeanine Áñez.
While in Santiago, Macri met Wednesday with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera. The former Argentine head of state appeared at La Moneda in his capacity as president of the FIFA Foundation. Chile is probably the only country that can be defined as the First World of Latin America, said Macri, who could never understand why he was voted out of the Casa Rosada in the first round in 2019.
Unable to disguise his support for the ultra-conservative José Antonio Kast against the leftist Gabriel Boric in Chile's upcoming presidential runoff Dec. 19, Macri said: I don't know him, but I sense that he will try to govern along the same lines as the current government.