A ruling this week by Uruguay's Supreme Court left Argentine Member of Parlasur Fabián Pepín Rodríguez Simón on the verge of extradition to his country, where he is wanted for influence peddling and other crimes allegedly committed during the presidency of Mauricio Macri (2015-2019), it was reported in Montevideo.
Pepín's efforts to be granted refugee status in the country where the Mercosur Parliament is located have failed repeatedly. He has been a fugitive from the Argentine Judiciary for over three years.
Justices Doris Morales, Elena Martínez, Bernadette Minvielle Sánchez, Tabaré Sosa Aguirre, and John Pérez Brignani unanimously dismissed a filing by Rodríguez Simón after a first request for political asylum was rejected.
On Dec. 7, 2022, Rodríguez Simón's defense filed before the Refugee Commission (CORE) of Uruguay a new request for recognition of refugee status, motivated by new persecutory facts, later, different and more serious than those that motivated the previous request claiming that in his country of origin throughout 2022, a renewed governmental persecution was undertaken against him for his lawful opinions, actions, and affiliation.
Pepín's legal team also hinted Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (CFK) was behind the scheme against their client.
The Uruguayan court argued that beyond being labeled 'new facts', what the appellant mentions are new situations that refer to the same original cause of the alleged persecution against him.
Whether or not the new request is a mere reissue of the previous one without a modification of its objective basis due to alteration of the factual circumstances, the fact is that this must be substantiated and resolved by the competent Seat, the 60-page ruling went on.
Rodríguez Simón is wanted in Argentina for allegedly maneuvering on behalf of Macri before the so-called judiciary table to the detriment of businessmen Fabián De Sousa and Cristóbal López, of Grupo Indalo.
After Monday's ruling, the case is now in the hands of Uruguayan Organized Crime Judge Fernando Islas Preyones.
Rodríguez Simón, a former advisor to Macri, has been in Uruguay since Dec. 8, 2020. Buenos Aires Federal Judge María Servini declared him in absentia on May 19, 2021, after he announced that he did not intend to appear at a hearing to which he had been summoned. An extradition request was received in Montevideo on May 25, 2021, after which Rodríguez Simón filed his case before the Refugee Commission (CORE), due to which he had to surrender his passport to Uruguayan authorities and was banned from leaving the country.
In August of that year, the CORE found that there were no elements to consider that Rodríguez Simón was a politically persecuted person because all the guarantees of due process were available to him in Argentina. On Dec. 23, 2021, Uruguayan Judge Adriana Chamsarian rejected Rodríguez Simón's request. Her ruling was upheld by a Montevideo Court of Appeals in June 2022.
Judge Servini remarked that Rodríguez Simón gave ample public evidence of his intention to evade justice, which was ratified by his defense counsel on May 18, 2021. He is being investigated for the alleged existence of acts carried out by public officials, from the highest levels of the National Executive Branch or at the behest of those, which by means of harassment and financial strangulation of the companies of Grupo Indalo, would have resulted in cases of corruption.