Former Boca Juniors coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Xeneize and Argentina star Carlos Tevez invested money that helped fund the purchases of wind farms by Sideco Americana, a firm linked to former president Mauricio Macri’ and his family, a new investigation has revealed.
The courts are currently investigating the money trail left behind by Sideco and its wind park business, amid claims of alleged irregularities in the purchase of six wind farms (a group of wind turbines in the same location used to produce electricity).
The new revelation, concerning Barros Schelotto’s investment, has emerged after new information from the United States came to light as part of the investigation, sources with direct access to the casefile, told Perfil.
Last year, Perfil revealed that Tevez was the owner of 10 percent of shares of a corporation created by Sideco and its partners for its ventures into the renewable energy business.
Over the weekend, the newspaper confirmed that the veteran forward committed more than US$16 million in funds. Barros Schelotto, meanwhile, contributed a much smaller yet not insignificant amount, close to US$800,000.
Tenders and transactions
In 2016, while then-president Mauricio Macri was promoting investment in renewable energy, Sideco Americana — the Macri family’s insignia firm — created four companies (Usir Argentina, Sideli SA, Sidsel SA and Parques Eólicos Miramar SA) in the name of Mariano Payaslián, a trusted accountant.
Bypassing the public tender process, those firms would eventually acquire six wind parks, in Chubut Province and Miramar in Buenos Aires Province, picking them up from a company named Isolux-Corsan. The Spanish firm had won the original tenders.
On October 19, 2016, Isolux announced it had reached an agreement with Sideli SA and Sidsel SA. The firm also confirmed his divestment process to withdraw from Argentina.
The Macri firm paid US$25 million for the first package of wind farms, according to Perfil, and last year sold them to a company named Genneia and a Chinese company (Goldwind). They scored a US$15 million profit with just one of the wind parks.
With new information emerging from the United States, Judge Marcelo Martínez de Giorgi now knows how the money was transferred into one of the bank accounts, the financial trust of the Nation Bank of New York. However, two other US banks consulted by the judge say that they "do not register records" for the two other accounts that were used for the second part of the transaction, as stated in the case.
According to newly obtained information, Sideco financed these investments with contributions from two associates who are very close to the former president: former Boca Juniors coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto and football star Carlos Tevez. Between them they contributed almost U$$17.8 million (US$16,998,000 from the striker, commonly known as ‘Apache,’ and a much smaller figure, US$799,335, from the ex-head coach and former Boca winger).
Macri served as Boca's Club President from 1995 to 2007, with a second spell in charge from February 2008 to June 2008. He maintains strong links with the club today.
The case, which first began two years ago after a complaint from Victory Front lawmaker Rodolfo Tailhade, is based on allegations of a conflict of interest and public fraud. (The tender for these renewable energy contracts was issued by the State.)
Martínez de Giorgi – who recently took on late federal judge Claudio Bonadio’s open cases – has uncovered bank details from contracts signed between Sideco and its partners and Goldwind, though some information remains elusive.
One of the accounts for which there is still no information is in the name of Sideco at JP Morgan Chase Bank in New York. The second account for which no data appears is from Wells Fargo, also in New York, and is in the name of Selena Partners, one of the investment funds which participated in the business. These accounts, according to the contracts, would have received payments from Goldwind for the Loma Blanca I, II, III, VI and Miramar sites.
Sideco and its partners made a significant profit on their wind farm business. Sales of wind farms and contracts to operate solar parks made a net profit of US$69.2 million in just one year, Perfil revealed in a recent report.
Although transactions of this kind between private companies are legal, in this case it involved the family of a sitting president.
The Judiciary is now probing how money received from Goldwind was distributed. Sources close to Barros Schelotto told Perfil last weekend that it was a “legal investment” and all the contributed funds had been declared with the authorities.
The new information which Martínez de Giorgi has received from the United States will allow the courts to reconstruct how Sideco and its partners raised the money to buy the Loma Blanca IV wind park and the contracts with the State for the additional farms (namely Loma Blanca I, II, III, VI and Miramar).
It is now known that the money contributed by Tevez and Barros Schelotto represents 70 percent of what was used to buy the Isolux parks.
Perfil tried for several days to communicate with Tevez's representative, Adrián Ruocco, but he did not respond to repeated messages and calls.
Sideco’s representatives also declined to comment.
* This article is adapted from two pieces that originally appeared in the Perfil newspaper penned by investigative reporter Emilia Delfino.