Two officials from the City of Buenos Aires involved in a suspicious purchase of chinstraps and in the hiring of hotels resigned


Two Buenos Aires government officials presented their resignations this Saturday amid of two suspicious hires that they were publicly denounced and were under the magnifying glass of the authorities. Is about Nicolas Montovio, undersecretary of Administration of the Health System, and of Gonzalo Robredo, President of the Tourism Authority.

The first was involved in a direct purchase of 15,000 chinstraps for $ 3,000 each made on April 5 from the company Green Salud. The second participated in hiring hotels to accommodate the lightly ill with coronavirus. Both transactions are suspected of irregularities.

One of the protagonists of this story is the businessman Ignacio José María Sáenz Valiente, nicknamed by his friends and family as “El Verde”, who maintains business with Rodrigo Miguel, brother of Felipe Miguel, Chief of Cabinet of the City of Buenos Aires.

In a press release released this Saturday, the government reported that Rodríguez Larreta accepted the resignations of Montovio and Robredo and ordered an internal investigation to be carried out “to guarantee that there were no economic damages against the State” At the same time, the opposition formalized a criminal complaint and filed a request for information in the Legislature on the bids and direct purchases in which the company of Sáenz Valiente participated.

In the midst of the total quarantine ordered by the Executive Power with the aim of postponing the peak of the pandemic and gaining time to provide supplies to medical personnel, the Buenos Aires administration directly purchased 1,600 N95 masks from the 3M company at $ 3,000 each . Initially, The agreed value was striking because it is above the prices at which the product is available in virtual stores around the world. The government argued the transaction because of the urgency and the absence of suppliers at a time when several countries require the same products.

However, not only the amounts of the contract generated controversy but also the surnames involved. The company that sold the chinstraps, Green Health, is in the name of Sáenz Valiente and an administrative employee who appears in a dozen other companies created by that same lawyer.

What is striking about the firm is that It was created in October of last year and does not record any other sales to the City. In fact, it does not appear in the registry of suppliers that can contract with the Buenos Aires government, although official sources clarified that the coronavirus emergency law allows transactions to be carried out with companies that are not registered.

Green Salud literally debuted selling chinstraps to the City, at least with official organisms. Infobae consulted with public records and there are no previous purchases or tenders with the Buenos Aires government or with the national government.

All the companies in Sáenz Valiente carry the word “Green”. It is no coincidence: the eccentric lawyer, who inherited the conduct of the study after the death of his grandfather and a serious illness from his father, has a very special nickname: “The green”. Why? The reason goes back to the end of the 90’s, when “El Potro” Rodrigo appeared on television sets with hair dyed green. Sáenz Valiente, at the time a young man of just 20 years old, decided to imitate him and appeared one day in the studio with that same look. From that day on, his classmates nicknamed him “El verde” and the word “green” appeared in a dozen societies.

The administrative employee who created Green Salud together with Sáenz Valiente also appears in “Green Digital Services”, “Green Cocktails & Dreams Sa” and “Green Import & Export SA’, among other companies.

For many years, Sáenz Valiente practically did not practice as a lawyer. In the study, many employees still remember an anecdote when he had to ask his secretary if he was enrolled.

Until recently, in the law firm that the lawyer conducts, he worked Rodrigo Miguel, brother of the Chief of Cabinet of the City government. “They are very friends and have a common society“Said a former employee.

The complaint by the chinstrap was in the hands of the Buenos Aires prosecutor Maximilian Vence, could you know Infobae from judicial sources. A complaint was also filed with the Comodoro Py courts.

The businessman Sáenz Valiente, as reflected in the Federal Administration of Public Income (AFIP) and in a legal case that for money laundering was opened in the federal court in charge of the late Claudio Bonadio, introduced himself as the owner of an account opened in 2001 in Switzerland.

The Swiss account had been reported as suspicious by that country’s anti-money laundering office and that report was added to a file opened in Buenos Aires. Sáenz Valiente appeared at the money laundering carried out during the Mauricio Macri government and externalized the money that was in those deposits. There were, according to sources of the investigation, about USD 5 million in that Swiss account.

The little progress in the reported corruption cases involving public officials of the City Government is striking in judicial areas.

The City rented rooms from 28 hotels at the same time to accommodate people who came from abroad and had to comply with a mandatory quarantine and to house lightly ill patients with coronavirus.

One of those hotels -BA CENTRAL- was hired through its manager, Midas Hotel Management, whose board is made up of the sister of the Head of Government, Ximena Vallarino Alfaro Díaz Alberdi, daughter of María Cristina Díaz Alberdi and Gaspar Emilio Vallarino Alfaro. Casually, the president of the society is Laura Jumerosky, partner of Saénz Valiente.

Through resolution No. 67 of the Tourism Authority and with the signature of Robredo, the payment of $ 5,439,511 was arranged. As argued in a statement, Rodríguez Larreta was not aware of this hiring and learned of it with the publication in the Official Gazette.