NewsLatin AmericaFormer security chief of the Uruguayan Presidency is sentenced to 4 years in prison for criminal association

Former security chief of the Uruguayan Presidency is sentenced to 4 years in prison for criminal association

(CNN Spanish) — The former security chief of the Uruguayan Presidency Alejandro Astesiano was sentenced this Wednesday to four and a half years in prison and to pay a fine of about US$3,800 for the crimes of association to commit a crime in real reiteration, influence peddling, disclosure of secrets and conjunction of personal and public interest.

The former custodian of the president, Luis Lacalle Pou, negotiated and reached an abbreviated agreement with the prosecutor in the case, Gabriela Fossati, and the criminal judge Alejandro Asteggiante ratified the sentence at the same hearing.

Astesiano has been in preventive detention since September 26, 2022, when he was detained at the presidential residence in the framework of an investigation into an organization accused of adulterating documents to deliver Uruguayan passports to Russian citizens.

political storm

The case unleashed a political storm in Uruguay due to the dissemination in the press of chats of the now condemned —which are in the file— in which they mention everything from requests for information “to put together files” on leaders of the political opposition to follow-up on through police cameras to a union leader.

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The prosecutor’s accusation details that the former official had fluid contacts with the police hierarchies on “aspects that were not specific to his function”, for which he “accessed the video surveillance cameras located in the Presidency of the Republic and extracted information of interest to him or from third parties (…) requested information from the film records of the video surveillance cameras of the Ministry of the Interior (…) on occasions, they sent them the respective footage; he received information of interest from third parties by public officials; he asked for and did ‘favours’ (…) he received people in his work office (in the presidential building) who made all kinds of proposals (expedite procedures, transfers, work, etc.) ”.

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In his most recent statements on this issue, President Lacalle Pou reiterated last Thursday that his mistake was “having chosen the wrong person.”

“What does that involve me in?” He responded regarding some of the accusations.

Once his conviction was known, Astesiano’s lawyer delivered a note to the press, according to him written by Astesiano, saying that this was “the worst media and political trial in years.”

the investigation continues

For this cause, five other people were charged, including the former Uruguayan consul in Moscow Stefano di Conza for repeated fraud and crimes of assumption of marital status, and the former executive deputy director of the National Police Jorge Berriel for revealing a secret. Berriel’s lawyer told Radio Sarandí that he “does not dispute” the events “because they happened”, but that it remains to be seen if they are crimes or not, adding that his client gave information to Astesiano because he requested it by invoking the president.

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In addition, a Russian citizen was sentenced to 19 months in prison on probation, after admitting to the crime of using a false document to obtain a Uruguayan passport in order to process a visa to go to the United States.

Once the conviction was known, prosecutor Fosatti declared at a press conference that the sentence is “very severe” and “very important.”

“Notice that the most punished crime of all those attributed to it is that of criminal association, which has a sentence of five years, and we are talking about an abbreviated agreement to a sentence of four and a half years,” he said.

However, he clarified that the agreement is “exclusively between the Prosecutor’s Office and Astesiano” and that the investigation continues.

“All cases are still open, all investigations are ongoing and there may be other people responsible,” he added.


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