The former holder of the Federal Public Revenue Administration (AFIP) Ricardo Echegaray was acquitted today in the oral trial that followed him for the alleged irregular importation in 2006 of a diplomatic order for the Commercial and Cultural Office of Taiwan in Argentina. The Prosecutor’s Office and the Customs complaint did not accuse him, so they did not ask for a conviction.
He was also acquitted Chun Teh Hsieh, former head of the Commercial and Cultural Office of Taiwan in Argentina, and accused along with Echegaray. The accusation was for smuggling aggravated by the authorization of Echegaray, as Customs holder, of the importation in 2006 of a Mercedes Benz E 350 car that had been requested by the Commercial and Cultural Office of Taiwan.
But both the prosecutor Marcelo Aguero Vera as the Customs attorney did not accuse. “This complaint is in a position to anticipate that from the testimonies and the analysis of the secret documentation of the Chancellery the hypothesis of the accusation will not prosper”, held today Ariel German, Plaintiff prosecutor at the beginning of his argument in the oral trial, which, like last week, was held by videoconference.
In the afternoon, Aguero Vera also asked for Echegaray’s acquittal. “It was an administrative act dictated with reasonableness and within the framework of a government policy ”, the public prosecutor maintained on the action of the ex- holder of the AFIP.
Thus, without a request for a conviction, the Oral Criminal Economic Court 1 must issue an acquittal. At the closing of the trial, Echegaray, who followed him by video conference from his home, chose not to speak.
Echegaray and Teh Hsieh, who lives in the country, came to trial accused because the car entered the country without paying taxes in violation of the customs regime since the process was not done through the Foreign Ministry because Taiwan does not have status in the country diplomatic.
The complaint held that the import It was done based on Foreign Ministry resolutions establishing a special franchise regime for Taiwan and that this had been done for geopolitical reasons., which was reflected in secret documents that were dealt with in the trial.
The lawyer maintained that Argentina has had commercial relations with Taiwan since 1992 and that the then Minister of Economy Domingo Cavallo declared in the trial that he instructed that the island, which is part of China, have full diplomatic status to make trade agreements.
Germán also pointed out that the customs documents used to carry out the procedure do not show any irregularity.
Then it was the prosecutor’s turn. Aguero Vera noted that from 1994 to 2010 the regime applied by Echegaray was used for Taiwan. He added that the Foreign Ministry expressly declined its competence and delegated to Customs the exception of the tax regime. “The car always remained available for use by the Taiwan trade office and was transferred to each officer in charge. This shows that his income is genuinely in accordance with the fundamentals of his request ”, argued the prosecutor
In the absence of accusation from either party, the judges Diego García Berro, José Michilini and Ignacio Fornari they ordered the acquittal of the two accused. On May 28 the court will announce the fundamentals.
The trial began in early March and Echegaray declared that there was no crime because the import procedure was carried out under a special diplomatic regime, with the approval of the Customs technical areas and that it acted as in other similar cases. For his part, Teh Hsieh said that it was a legal process and that he did not obtain a personal benefit with the car since it was under the Commercial and Cultural Office for 12 years and then it was sold by public tender.
With the coronavirus pandemic, hearings had been suspended in mid-March and resumed last week through a videoconference system that ended today.
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