Some US$569,700 has been confiscated by Argentina’s Federal Police from the home of model Sofía Clerici in the upmarket neighbourhood of Nordelta in the framework of the money-laundering and embezzlement case.
The investigation relates to the scandal arising from outgoing Lomas de Zamora mayor Martín Insaurralde’s controversial trip to Marbella during the latter weeks of the election campaign. The trip, which included a yacht trip and the purchase of multiple luxury items, has sparked a criminal probe, corruption allegations and led to the official’s resignation as Cabinet chief in the Buenos Aires Province government.
The raid in the gated community where the model lives covered seven properties, police sources.
Computers and mobile telephones were also found at homes used by Insaurralde in Banfield, Lomas de Zamora and San Vicente, as well as in the residence of his former wife Jésica Cirio in the City neighbourhood of Las Cañitas.
Expensive watches were also confiscated, as were additional items found during the raids because, according to court sources, they remain subject to the investigation as important evidence to advance in the case.
The proceedings had been requested by the case prosecutor Sergio Mola as part of the intelligence work to verify the places of frequent movement of the three indicted, hence the seizure of their telephones and other electronic items.
Even though several weeks have passed since the start of the investigation so that no positive result of the raids was contemplated, the amount of money found in Clerici’s house came as a surprise.
She has denied corruption allegations and says her income is a result of her own earnings.
The courts are now working on sending warrants and requests for information abroad to look into the track records of the assets of Insaurralde, Clerici and Cirio. In this phase of the case the prosecutor’s office specialising in money-laundering under Diego Velasco is checking the origin of the funds attributed to the three indicted persons.
Images of the findings in Clerici’s Nordelta homes went viral online on Tuesday following the raid.
Police sources confirmed to the Noticias Argentinas news agency that during the raids "US$569,911 were seized along with eight million pesos, a jewel-box containing necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, chains, etc. (some of them CD, Tiffany & Co and Louis Vuitton), seven Louis Vuitton handbags, two Iphone mobile telephones, a Macbook, two iPads and an Ipod with camera, a Samsung notebook, several watches, two expired and two valid passports and a register of visits."
In the images to which the media had access, the luxurious house in which the model lived in a Nordelta gated community could be observed along with all her valuables.
Details such as crystal glasses, hundreds of make-up kits and even a special room for clothes and jewellery could be noted in the various bedrooms.
Federal Judge Ernesto Kreplak has sent a battery of warrants to the United States, Uruguay and Spain in the framework of the money-laundering and embezzlement investigation aimed at Insaurralde, Clerici and Cirio.
Kreplak is seeking deeper details of the trip taken by the Lomas de Zamora mayor on leave and the model last September, but also to add information on the assets of those under investigation.
The judge wants to know how Insaurralde and Clerici travelled from Madrid to Marbella, how it was paid for and where both stayed. The request was channelled via the Foreign Ministry and must be answered by the Spanish judicial authorities.
The judge has also contacted the United States vía the Justice Ministry to ask if the Insaurralde has properties in that country, bearing in mind that he made many trips to its territory in recent years.
Another warrant went to Uruguay with a request for information regarding an alleged divorce agreement between Insaurralde and Cirio reportedly amounting to up to US$20 million. Cirio denies she received such a large pay-out.
In Uruguay, the Central Bank on one side and a prosecutor on the other have opened up an investigation after a presentation by the deputy Graciela Ocaña (Juntos por el Cambio-Buenos Aires Province) to determine if there was such an agreement and if that sum was real.