“We accept the cost of being free or we accept the consequences of not being free. I am with freedom”, completed the former president who seems to have lost his memory since 2015 when he began his government, an operation was mounted against Oil Combustibles to persecute the shareholders of the Indalo group Cristóbal López and Fabián De Sousa with the aim of breaking them.
Story of a chase
The operation that led to the bankruptcy of Oil began in October 2015, the day of the first electoral return of that year. That morning, Mauricio Macri summoned Cristóbal López at Franco Macri’s house, in Barrio Parque. The now former president told López that his electoral victory was assured, showed him a survey and -according to what the businessman declared before Judge Servini- “He asked me for the channel to imprison Cristina”. López assures that in that Dialogue replied “don’t talk to me”.
Three months later, Macri assumed the presidency and a war against Indalo began, with a peak in March 2016 when a note in the newspaper La Nación published an alleged journalistic investigation in which the Indalo Group was accused of tax evasion of $8,000 million. Very shortly after, Macri himself revealed that it was actually a job done by the AFIP – that is, by the Macri government – and leaked to the morning paper.
At that moment, former deputy Elisa Carrió appeared in Comodoro Py and maintained that what was published in La Nación was part of the gigantic illicit association, headed by Néstor and Cristina Kirchner, which she had already denounced in 2008, eight years earlier. In this way, she channeled the instruction to the judge Julian Ercolini -which had the 2008 file on illicit association- which together with Claudio Bonadio, monopolized the persecution against opponents. It was a forum shopping maneuver, that is, the judge’s choice, without Carrió making any contribution, only newspaper clippings. The next step was sung: the businessmen were accused of fraud.
Throughout the process, López and De Sousa received visits from different envoys, including Pepin Rodriguez Simon (today a fugitive in Uruguay), who announced: “The war started”. But the harassment of companies was even greater, with seizures and bankruptcy petitions. At the same time, several businessmen also appeared on the scene, Orly Terranova, Ignacio Rosner -close to the macrismo- who made offers to stay with the conglomerate of companies and, finally, discipline the media to the Casa Rosada.
At that time, the workers received their salaries in installments and with enormous obstacles planted by the Macri government and the commercial justice with which there was a gigantic battle so that the accounts from which the salaries were paid were not seized.
A key instance occurred in December 2017 when Ercolini ordered the prosecution and preventive detention of Lopez and De Sousa. It was just on December 19, in the midst of the mobilizations in Congress for the pension reform. That night, after a meeting between the president, the Minister of Justice, Germán Garavano, and the leadership of the Federal Intelligence Agency, the operation was launched that sought to cushion the catastrophe in Congress with the arrest of the businessmen.
To dictate the prison: Ercolini argued that López and De Sousa had sold the business group behind his back, something obviously impossible because shares could not be transferred without the approval of the magistrate who had everything seized. The truth is that a year and nine months later, in September 2019, Judge María Eugenia Capuccetti ruled that there was no such sale and no crime was committed. López and De Sousa spent almost 22 months in prison.
With the owners in the Ezeiza prison, the bankrupt company and the media offensive, along the way justice sold key Oil assets, such as the refinery, the port of San Lorenzo and a series of service stations at prices that meant a third or a quarter of previous offers; Road concessions were taken from the group and the Macri government revoked works that the construction company CPC had won in tenders.
Almost a year ago, the commercial judge María Soledad Cazzaza finalized the bankruptcy of Oil Combustibles and accepted the settlement (agreement) of Oil for 99.96% of the debt and 96% of the creditors. The end of the bankruptcy of Oil is a kind of defeat of the devastating squeeze suffered by different businessmen by the government of Mauricio Macri.
The extortion, conducted by the so-called judicial table, is today investigated by Judge María Romilda Servini and it is the case in which Macri’s main judicial operator, Pepín Rodríguez Simón, is a fugitive.