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ARGENTINA | 23-03-2023 08:44

Buenos Aires City security minister Marcelo D’Alessandro resigns post amid scandal

Buenos Aires City security and justice minister, who has been on leave for three months, resigns following scandal prompted by Lago Escondido leaked chat messages.

Buenos Aires City Security and Justice Minister Marcelo D’Alessandro presented his resignation to Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta on Wednesday after nearly three months on leave.

D’Alessandro’s resignation was prompted by the investigation of presumably private chats of his exposing links with the judiciary becoming public. The scandal of the leaked messages, in which the official shares protagonism with a Supreme Court aide, came on top of his participation in a controversial trip to Patagonian together with federal judges and executives from the Clarín newspaper.

City Hall sources said D'Alessandro will be replaced by Eugenio Burzaco, who served as national security secretary under then-security minister Patricia Bullrich in the Mauricio Macri government (2015-19).

"In 2016 I made an enormous commitment to the security of the City. Now after seven years I have communicated to the Mayor my decision to step aside in order to fully become a plaintiff in the case investigating the illegal intelligence operation against me, " tweeted D´Alessandro, announcing his decision to step down.

The ex-City Hall official added: "I never relaxed a single day and I leave with the pride, satisfaction and peace of mind of having achieved the lowest crime rates in the last 28 years, converting Buenos Aires into the safest capital in Latin America."

D'Alessandro was linked to scandal after scandal after alleged chat messages with Silvio Robles, a key aide of Supreme Court Chief Justice Horacio Rosatti, and businessman Marcelo Violante, the concessionaire of the City system for towing away badly parked vehicles until taken over by the municipality a few weeks ago, went public.

The ex-minister also appeared implicated in the publication of messages exchanged with federal judges, City Attorney-General Juan Bautista Mahiques and Grupo Clarín executives to agree on a strategy for allegedly covering up a trip to the residence of British tycoon Joe Lewis in Lago Escondido, near Bariloche.

In that regard D'Alessandro highlighted: "I assure you that no [illegal espionage] operation can wipe out the personal and professional satisfaction of having faced up to the criminals so that citizens can live safer. There is still much to be done and I hope that the same path is continued."

Referencing the hacking of his mobile phone, he said that “we already know who is responsible. Now it’s a question of finding out who masterminded, financed and ordered it. We all have to give our explanations to the courts. We Argentines deserve to know the truth. The impunity will not continue."

D'Alessandro requested leave from his post on January 3. The national government denounced him at the time for "possible malfeasance, graft, embezzlement and dealings incompatible with public office."

Rodríguez Larreta on Wednesday ratified the "innocence" of D’Alessandro, saying that he had "nothing but thanks for all the work of Marcelo and his team in these years."

The PRO presidential hopeful added: "The illegal intelligence operation against him was consuming his time and energy to defend himself. That’s why decided to step aside to devote himself fully to that fight and protect his family."

 

– TIMES/PERFIL/NA

 

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