“Bitcoin is being used as a currency of value and replacing gold. Large companies and institutions are buying them. Blackrock, Tesla, they are doing it and Miami is passing their reserves. I would love to that Argentina has bitcoins, that we sell them in 10 years and pay the foreign debt. It would be great ”.
The analysis and the desire do not belong to any operator of the most famous and expensive cryptocurrency in the market, where very recently it was worth US $ 60,000 per unit. He developed it, not without enthusiasm, before the Federal Oral Criminal Court 1 of Bahía Blanca, Emmanuel Garcia (41). He is accused of laundering assets, originating in drug trafficking, precisely through the use of bitcoins.
García is the only one of the seven defendants who was released at the hearing dealing with the “Bobinas Blancas” case, an operation against the international commercialization of drugs developed in 2017 based on data from the DEA.
While the other six defendants admitted their guilt on the first day of the trial, García decided to defend himself. Therefore, in the debate, only testimonies related to their participation in the band were heard.
“That they say that bitcoin is used for money laundering is old. This has been said for a long time and it is a lie ”, he declared in a general way, after seeking to separate himself, individually, from the accusation. It is the one that links him with the criminal group made up of Mexicans, Argentines and a Colombian, Rodrigo Alejandro Naged Ramírez, murdered in 2018 in an apartment in Belgrano, for which his lawyer is being tried.
Garcia, a business administrator with a postgraduate degree in environmental management, testified for about 50 minutes and only accepted questions from his two attorneys. He said that he worked in banks and large firms, including an oil company that he resigned in 2015, to dedicate himself to bitcoin, the only cryptocurrency that existed at that time in the market. In a short time he managed to make a name for himself and have his own company, without depending on anyone.
He showed his pride for being “one of the first 5 or 6 players (players) in the country”, until achieving its trademark, “Constructor”, registered on the web. “I had the intention to promote the bitcoin industry and exchange, through my profile on Facebook and all public. I did not imagine myself in another job, until one day, they broke the door of my house, “he declared about the June 2017 raid on his apartment in Recoleta, where they kidnapped US $ 150,000 in a safe.
“There is something great here, you will know why,” he said that Federal agents told him while they detained him. García assured that he did not know what was happening until a few days later, when they took him to testify, along with other detainees, to the federal court of Campana. There a lawyer he knew was waiting for him and who convinced him to testify.
“You are going to have to say yes, if you are not going to stay blow, because they accuse them of illicit association ”, affirmed García that the lawyer recommended. “Did you do something with these people?” He asked him repeatedly, while showing him text messages on a phone. “That’s where the file fell, I had some Mexican clients,” he said before the Bahia court, which deliberates virtually.
According to García, he improvised his first statement before Judge Adrián González Charvay, in which “everything I said was true, except for the operations and volumes negotiated. I made it spicy enough for him to believe me ”.
The White Coils Operative.
He argued that he was only looking to trade bitcoins, “a public activity that pays taxes,” he remarked, but that the transactions with the Mexicans never materialized.
“In the cryptocurrency market, in 2017, it was impossible for 200,000, 300,000 dollars to be handled. There is no way I could absorb that volume. How do you imagine that I am going to go with that figure to a bar?” Garcia said.
Later, when deciding to prosecute the gang, the judge separated him from the rest, who was charged with drug trafficking, and he He charged him with money laundering, in addition to garnishing him $ 12 million.
“From there everything got complicated. It was bad, he couldn’t leave the country, “said García, who broke in several sections of his statement. “I do not appear in any transaction anywhere and four years later they drag me here,” said the accused, crying, who defined himself as “Quite spiritual, vegetarian and sociable.”
At the end of the statement, one of his lawyers read him some of the text messages that link him to a “lawyer” who would be the link with the drug traffickers.
García explained that he met “three or four times” with him, sent him the address, a sort of CBU in which bitcoins should be deposited, but he never had any answers.
“He would connect later, but during the time of the operation, I did not receive the bitcoins and that is why I was not going to deliver the money,” defended the defendant.
When his interlocutor tells him to see himself “in the same place,” García argued that he was referring to a trial operation that could not be carried out.
The operation to incinerate the drugs seized in Bobinas Blancas. Photo Martín Bonetto.
With his statement, the stage of receiving testimonies during the debate was closed, so this Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. the argument of the prosecutor Gabriel González Da Silva was to begin. It started around 2 p.m., but within a few minutes a power outage forced its postponement to April 21.
From the prosecution, they assure that there are elements to maintain the accusation against García. They also argue that this trial will be a leading case in money laundering through cryptocurrencies, for being the first in the country.
“I recognize myself as a co-author of the charges made by the prosecution and the complaint,” said Max Rodríguez Córdova in the first place on February 23 last (48). He was followed, with the same admission of guilt, by Jesús Madrigal Vargas (33) and Gilberto Acevedo Villanueva (33). The three are Mexican and testified from the same room in the Ezeiza 1 Penitentiary Complex.
The same path that the Mexicans later followed the Mendoza brothers Darío Maximiliano (33) and Marcelo Rafael Cuello (47), housed in the Marcos Paz prison. Finally, from his home in Necochea, Amílcar Darío Martino (61) also incriminated himself.
GL – EMJ