Correo Argentino: Macri alleges ‘vendetta’ as judge decrees bankruptcy
Judge Marta Cirulli decrees bankruptcy of the Correo Argentino post office, owned by the Macri Group. Former president publishes open letter claiming that he and his family are victims of political persecution.
Judge Marta Cirulli has decreed the bankruptcy of the Correo Argentino post office, owned by the Macri Group, after ruling the terminal failure of attempts at salvage.
From Spain prior to the ruling, former president Mauricio Macri published an open letter online via social networks, in which he claimed that he and his family were the targets of political persecution by the government.
Also relayed to the office of the Inspector-general of Justice, the ruling – the climax of bankruptcy proceedings since the post office called in its creditors in September, 2001 – empowers the Central Bank “to communicate the failure to all the country’s credit institutions, who must then place all sums of money and other values deposited in the name of the failed company under injunction, proceeding to transfer them to the Bank of the City of Buenos Aires under the orders of the undersigned.”
The ruling also warned “Correo Argentino, its trustees and third parties to hand over or place at the disposal of the bankruptcy trustee all the assets of the debtor within five days, as well as handing over all commercial books and documentation related to accountancy within 24 hours.”
The bankruptcy had been requested by Treasury Prosecutor Carlos Zaninni, who had estimated Correo Argentino’s debt (and hence of the Macri family) to the state at five billion pesos.
The ruling said that this debt alone imposed a decision against the debtor, even in the event of all documentation being found to be legally above board and accountable, which the judge called “a forced interpretation.”
Correo Argentino on Tuesday reacted with predictably strong criticism, describing the ruling as “a disastrous day for Argentine commercial justice.”
The Macri Group ran the Correo Argentino post office between 1997 and 2003 when the recently arrived Néstor Kirchner administration rescinded the tender, denouncing that the company had only paid its licence fee in the first year.
In 2001, the company called in its creditors, proposing various settlements which were rejected as insufficient and
“abusive” by the prosecutor Gabriela Boquín, who ruled that the debt totalled six billion pesos.
On July 1 the government, via Zannini, presented a writ to judge Cirulli rejecting the latest offer by the Macri family firm Grupo Socma, accusing Correo Argentino of wishing to “stretch out the proceedings” that commenced in 2001 and requesting its bankruptcy.
The lawyers representing Socma in this case had offered a single cash payment of 1.011 billion pesos to settle its debt to the state, modifying what they had proposed in 2016 while Mauricio Macri was president. At that time the company offered 300 million pesos in instalments, a deal which the Macri government initially accepted. It eventually backtracked on the move when faced with a conflict of interests scandal.
In the letter published last Sunday in which he accused the Frente de Todos government of a “crusade” against his family, Macri attributed Correo Argentinos’s problems to the Néstor Kirchner presidency stripping its assets, charging that “equipment, vehicles, installations, infrastructure, computer systems and money from bank accounts” had all been removed without paying a peso.
His letter alleged that the post office case was a vendetta mounted via the judicial system as manipulated by Zannini, a veteran Kirchnerite politician who served as legal and technical secretary in successive governments led by former presidents Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
Macri also aimed his fire at Boquín, saying that she never had the slightest interest in collecting the state’s debts but only in seeing Correo Argentino go bust. He appealed to judge Cirulli and Appeals Court judges María Lilia Díaz Cordero and Matilde Ballerini to “halt these assaults,” while there was still time if they did not want to “pass into history as a protagonist responsible for having contributed towards transforming our beloved country into Argenzuela.”
“I do not ask for privileges, I ask for justice,” were his closing words.
The ex-president is currently in Europe to promote his book Primer Tiempo and maintain his contacts with European politicians.
Correo Argentino SA echoed ex-president Macri’s letter, charging that Zannini is behind a campaign of “persecution and vengeance.”
The company underlined that all the post office’s creditors had accepted its offer and that the bankruptcy had been ruled by a challenged judge.
“It is incredible that the state should expropriate the assets of a company while leaving its debts and not accepting a 100 percent payment in order to drive it into bankruptcy. All for vengeance and political interests. A further step towards Argenzuela,” concluded the statement of the Grupo Macri holding.