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Montevideo, April 18th 2024 - 17:15 UTC

 

 

Controversial reporter files criminal case against Uruguayan president

Saturday, February 24th 2024 - 10:53 UTC
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Supplies for a feast in Punta del Este were allegedly let into the country after “Luis called,” it was reported Supplies for a feast in Punta del Este were allegedly let into the country after “Luis called,” it was reported

Uruguayan reporter Jorge Bonica, who achieved notoriety in his country for continuous allegations against leading political figures and even tried his luck with the Basta Ya political party allegedly targeting corruption, Friday filed a criminal complaint against President Luis Lacalle Pou for smuggling and influence peddling. The head of state was said to have allowed the entry of Argentine goods into the country.

Bonica claimed that on Dec. 29 he was driving through the Gualeguaychú-Fray Bentos “when a possible phone call from the Uruguayan president made it possible for several kilos of food to pass through without any kind of controls for a party in Punta del Este,” according to Minuto de Cierre (www.minutodecierre.com).

“I was on the bridge, I happened to be on my way to Argentina, to Gualeguaychú, and I witnessed what happened,” said Bonica, who claimed to have witnessed a smuggling operation at the San Martin Bridge because “...there may even have been a serious act of corruption because what was passed into Uruguayan territory was 150 kilos of merchandise, totally prevented from passing from Argentina to Uruguay, and nevertheless the barriers were lifted,” he was quoted by Minuto de Cierre as saying.

Bonica filed his case before the Public Prosecutor's Office of Montevideo. He explained that the possible smuggling involved the President and other authorities because “...an official of the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries, of Customs, of the Sanitary Barrier, performing duties there, detected that an Argentine truck was carrying merchandise that was impossible to pass, but impossible, not even with an import permit. In order for the food to pass, SENASA, which is part of the Ministry of Livestock of Argentina, should have acted, it should have been previously inspected and sealed and it should have a refrigeration chain because we are talking about shrimps, salmon, champagne, cheese, raw fish. Everything for a party in the East [Punta del Este] and the sponsor of that party and of all that merchandise, [was] the Uruguayan Embassy in the Republic of Argentina.”

A Uruguayan customs officer stopped the Nissan truck bearing the Argentine registration number AG 086 HN in the name of the company Yacopini Mirai S.A. from the city of Mendoza and seized the merchandise. But the officer was told to let the truck through because “Luis had called” and all documents of the seizure were destroyed, the report went on.

According to Minuto de Cierre, Agriculture Minister Fernando Mattos and Virginia Guardia, Director of Biosecurity of Uruguay, were also involved by Bonica in his filing. In October, Lacalle Pou had pledged to up border controls because the exchange rate gap between Argentina and Uruguay was detrimental to locations near the border as locals did their shopping on the other side of the barrier. “What cannot happen and it is happening that there are people who are smuggling,” Lacalle said at the time.

Categories: Politics, Uruguay.

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