Starting tomorrow, the final conclusions of the parties will begin to be heard in the oral and public trial that is being carried out in the 10th Crime Chamber against 16 lawyers, notaries, engineers, accountants and businessmen for the alleged fraud in the sale of expropriated land 70 years ago on the banks of the Suquía river, where the General Paz neighborhood and the city center meet.
The court ordered eight days that would begin at 8 a.m. and last until 2 or 5:45 p.m., depending on the day. If the schedule is met, the verdict could be known on the 14th of this month. Tomorrow, Monday, prosecutors Raúl Garzón and Laura Battistelli will present their argument.
Since last week, both have been concentrating on analyzing the testimonies and evidence incorporated during the debate that began at the end of December. That’s where the accusation will come from.
The hard core of the maneuver is integrated, according to the investigation that is aired in the trial, by the lawyers Ernesto Alfredo Blanco, Alejandro José Damia (members in addition to the Cobrex firm); notaries Daniel Eduardo Ahumada, Esteban Ferrer Frontera and Lucrecio Lanza Castelli, and accountant and businessman Gustavo Trebucq. They were the most mentioned names throughout the debate.
One of the last procedures carried out was a visual inspection of the land in question, which was completed last Wednesday. The visit includes blocks 14 and 30, which are contiguous on Ortiz de Ocampo street, between Lima and 25 de Mayo, and which overlook the Costanera on the banks of the Suquía river.
The three members of the court attended, Juan José Rojas Moresi (president), Mario Centeno and Carlos Palacio Laje; the prosecutor Raúl Garzón, experts and numerous defense attorneys. There was also Trebucq, whose last name has served to name the file. He was the one who bought Manzana 30, where there was a plaza, from Bergallo & Pastrone SRL (B & P) and then sold to the View firm – plaintiff in the lawsuit.
Currently, the acquired lots belonging to the 30th block adjoin a public recreation space with children’s games and the bridge that connects the General Paz neighborhood with the city center was built on part of the land, extending 25 de Mayo street.
Previously, the prosecutors had extended the accusation to the lawyers Blanco and Damia, who advised José Abel Salomón (deceased), shareholder and owner of B&P.
During the hearing, according to the prosecution, the hypothesis of an attempted fraud in May 2004 arose, but with other victims. One of them was engineer Ramos, a former government official of Eduardo Angeloz to whom the lawyers would have offered the land but the sale was frustrated, because a notary public alerted the potential buyer that public lands were being trafficked. She verified the data through a query in the Hydraulics Department. This was the fact that was added to the original accusation of Blanco and Damia.
Expropriation. The defendants’ defenses argue that the lands were declared of public utility through a law, but the process was never perfected due to lack of payment to the owners.
Expropriation is a complex process. The State declares a property of public utility through a law. Then there must be a judicial sentence that declares the transfer of the domain and there the new deed of the property is registered. Once that sentence is handed down, the expropriated party ceases to be the owner and can only claim payment because the sentence is a legal act that registers ownership of the property in the name of the provincial State.
In the Trebucq case, the original prosecution maintains that the only claim that existed was to collect a bonus, unlike what the lawyers insist that the process was not completed. This is one of the central discussions in the debate. In the pleadings, prosecutors, complaint -by José Cafferata Nores- and defenders will present their conclusions. The judges will decide.
Four buildings on the sewers that come down from the General Paz neighborhood?
Parallel to the file that is being tried in the 10th Crime Chamber, another investigation was opened that is in charge of the Complex Crimes prosecutor, Enrique Gavier. It is on four buildings built on Ortiz de Ocampo at 300, almost on the corner of Lima. They are on Manzana 14, also expropriated in the 1950s of the last century. One of the buildings is the Grain Exchange.
The difference with the lands included in the ‘Trebucq case’ is that, in this case, the sentence that executed the declaration of public utility of the property was made on the trace of the sewer. The expropriation took place in 1944. For this reason, Gavier analyzes whether or not the apartment towers were built stepping on the sewage system. In the first case, there would be a crime because progress would be made on land in the public domain for the provision of a service.
When the visual inspection was finished, a neighbor approached this outlet and commented that she bought an apartment six years ago and that she still cannot write it down, apparently due to irregularities in land acquisition.
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