Luxury houses and 10-minute flights, what is known about the almost 500,000 dollars that were hidden in a plane
The meeting in the missionary city of apostles it lasted two hours. Enough time to count the American bills and hide them in different places on the Pilatus that took off for the international airport of Puerto Iguazu. A journey of just 46 minutes. The flight plan presented there indicated the Foz de Iguazú airport as the destination. A jump of only ten minutes to comply with the formalities of leaving Argentina and entering Brazil. But the only passenger made, perhaps, a fatal error in counting money. He set aside US$11,200 and carried it in his pocket when he passed the Airport Security Police metal detector. Something triggered the alarm at the checkpoint and when checking the belongings of that Brazilian lawyer, the amount that exceeded the limit allowed for cash movement by US$1,200 appeared. AFIP-Customs personnel inspected the aircraft and disassembled the seats to find the total US$491,500 and 5,000 reais that was transported in the flight that opened the day before yesterday a mystery about the origin of the dollars.
The possession of that money would have been for the black payment of a real estate operation. That was the explanation given by the flight passenger, identified by investigative sources as Arthur Rasmissen Freitas, 39when he heard in the eldorado federal courthouse charges for attempted currency smuggling. He was released, as were the pilot and co-pilot, but all three must appear on the 26th of this year to give the preliminary statement. Judicial doubts do not go so much through the final destination of the money, the purchase of a luxury property in front of Itapema beach, but the origin of those funds. A case for money laundering could be activated.
The Brazilian lawyer who was charged would belong to a major construction company in Santa Catarina. According to his profile on the LinkedIn network, he is the director of Rosecon, a high-end real estate development company. The plane would be in the name of that firm. And on the business website there are three possible offers, which exceed a little over half a million dollars for four-bedroom apartments spread over 380 square meters. That destination for the funds would not attract attention, but the resolution of the commercial operation in Argentina did arouse suspicion. That’s why investigators now want to know if the money originated from a legal activity.
The reconstruction of the movement of the aircraft allows us to identify that the supposed business meeting in Apóstoles lasted a maximum of two hours. The plane took off on Wednesday at 9.01 from the Sao Borja airport and landed 56 minutes later in Foz do Iguazú.. The Brazilian town of Sao Borja is only 180 kilometers away by road to Apóstoles. Its airport cannot allow international flights, so in general the planes make a stopover in Porto Alegre. In this case Foz de Iguazú was used to then cross to Puerto Iguazú, a flight of just 10 minutes. At 11:48 the Pilatus stopped the engine at that Argentine airport. At 1:23 p.m., it took off for Apóstoles, where it arrived 37 minutes later. It is an aerodrome with a 1,750-meter asphalt runway that now has more activity due to the temporary closure of the Posadas airport. Due to the return to Puerto Iguazú at 3:54 p.m., the commercial operation window is barely two hours. Afterwards, almost a blank day remained in Puerto Iguazú until the pilots -identified by sources of the investigation as Carlos Anderson Romalho and Rafael Mansan Duran- and the passenger Rasmussen Freitas returned just after 1:00 p.m. on Thursday to the Puerto Iguazú airport with the intention of to do the immigration procedures and fly only 10 minutes to Foz de Iguazú.
That move raises some questions: Was the money received in Apósteles from a buyer who sought to avoid the financial registry of that commercial operation? If that was the case, was nearly half a million dollars left on board the unoccupied plane between 4:40 p.m. Wednesday and 1:30 p.m. Thursday? Did the money move through Puerto Iguazú? In the so-called Triple Frontier area, anything is possible.
For these questions, the three Brazilian citizens will be investigated, who promised to appear on the 26th of this year in the federal court of Eldorado. They are not prohibited from leaving the country, so they can cross into Brazil. The pilots reported their address in Itapema, while the man who presented himself as the director of the high-end real estate development firm exposed his address in Camboriú. The plane was retained by the judicial authorities. Also the cell phones of the three defendants in the crime of attempted currency smuggling.
In the information stored in these devices, data will be sought on the alleged buyer, who in the story of the now suspects would have delivered that money in North American bills, which in Argentina are increasingly quoted in financial caves.
confiscation of money
In the event that it is determined that it is money originating from the laundering of illicit activities, the Brazilian citizens under investigation could face a long criminal process in our country and the confiscation of the money.
Article 305 of the Criminal Code establishes in its second paragraph that “in money laundering operations, they will be definitively confiscated, without the need for a criminal conviction, when it has been possible to verify the illegality of their origin, or of the material fact to which they were involved. linked, and the accused cannot be prosecuted due to death, escape, prescription or any other reason for suspension or termination of the criminal action, or when the accused has recognized the origin or illicit use of the property.
And it was added that “the assets that were confiscated will be used to repair the damage caused to society, to the victims in particular or to the State.”
Beyond the alleged irregular negotiation of a high-end property in Itapema, for now the movement of money in a particularly complex area is a mystery, since several organizations connected to transnational crimes operate there. The purchase of luxury goods is one of the usual money laundering tricks, something that the justice will investigate in this case, but which was exposed in other similar files.
And it is not just about the usual narco logistics networks. The exchange rate difference generated a change in the matter of smuggling, since the irregular departure of cargoes of soybeans, tobacco and wine, products for which a strong black market was opened in Brazil, has become more common in recent years. These contraband shipments are paid for in dollars and in cash, according to journalistic investigations of the situation on the northern border.