A federal judge in Argentina has dismissed all charges against 14 of the 19 crew members of the Emtrasur Boeing 747-300 freighter aircraft seized at Buenos Aires Ezeiza international airport. They were all given their passports back and cleared to leave the country at will.
Judge Federico Villena then summoned for questioning 5 of the 7 crew members remaining in Buenos Aires. After the new statements, Villena will have to decide on their fate.
A La Plata Court of Appeals had ordered Villena that all pending proceedings, the definition of the procedural situation and the restrictions imposed on persons and things must be resolved by the [lower] judge within ten days, which will be counted from the time this file is returned to the court of origin. The deadline was due to expire.
Those cleared of all charges were Mahdi Mouseli; Mohammad Khosraviaragh; Victoria Valdiviezo Marval; Cornelio Trujillo Candor; Vicente Raga Tenias; José Ramirez Martinez; Zeus Rojas Velasquez; Jesús Landaeta Oraa; Armando Marcano Estreso; Ricardo Rendon Oropeza; Albert Gines Perez; Angel Marin Ovalles; Nelson Coello and José García Contreras.
The US-built aircraft formerly owned by Iran's Mahan Air had left Paraguay on May 13 to take a cargo of Tabesa cigarettes to Aruba. From there it went to Mexico and then on to Argentina.
Paraguayan authorities Tuesday announced Iranian plane a new invoice from the Tabesa tobacco company owned by former President Horacio Cartés could prove the freighter's involvement in an alleged money laundering and tax evasion scheme.
According to expert Nora Ruoti quoted by Paraguayan media Tuesday, it would be a serious scandal that needs to be investigated ex officio, due to the inconsistencies found in that document.
There cannot be a difference. There cannot be two invoices with different realities. A reality that is the sending in one way, a reality that is an amount, a reality that has no documentation or addressee, even if it is by electronic means. This means that it must be investigated for presumed use of non-authentic documents, presumed tax evasion, Ruoti argued.
Cartés has been included in a list of the most corrupt individuals by the US government.