Every Sunday evening in Argentina, investigative TV show Periodismo para Todos (Journalism for All – the local equivalent to the UK’s Panorama) has been slowly uncovering a case of alleged corruption involving a businessman named Lazaro Baez, with close links to president Cristina Kirchner and her late husband, Nestor.
Over the last 20 years, Baez has progressed from working as a cashier in a bank to owning several large construction companies, which also happen to often be the recipients of large government contracts.
For the most recent episode of Periodismo para Todos, the investigative team visited the Seychelles, to look into a corporate entity called Aldyne which seems to have been used by Baez and his associates to launder the proceeds of corruption. Cristina Kirchner also visited the Seychelles on the 21st and 22nd of January 2013, officially during a layover on a trip to Asia.
The report is below: Although it is in Spanish, some of the interviews with local Seychelles officials are in English.
At 18:30, a representative of the office where Aldyne is registered is interviewed:
Journalist: “So…this company has no activities here, just monetary transactions”
Company rep: “This is allowed, to do business in the Seychelles”.
Journalist: “…your customers can keep their names absolutely secret”.
Company rep: “Yes, yes”.
The registration company, Mossack Fonseca, also has offices in Panama, the British Virgin Islands, Jersey, the Bahamas and London.
Asked about the alleged involvement of Mossack Fonseca Panama in money laundering, at 21.00 a Seychelles representative says: “That involves Mossack Fonseca Panama, so I cannot comment on Mossack Fonseca Seychelles being involved in that”.
Additionally, starting at 14.25 there is a brief interview with the head of the Financial Intelligence Unit. He talks about the Seychelles joining the Egmont Group of FIUs.
While the show was still on the air, the office of the President of Argentina released a statement saying that:
“the information, images and circumstances [contained in the report on the Seychelles] are lies, in bad faith” and that the president was in the Seychelles not for two days but for “13 hours and 30 minutes” for a technical layover on her official visit to Asia.
Seychelles does not have a tax information exchange agreement with Argentina.