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C O N F I D E N T I A L BUENOS AIRES 001176

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/19/2018

TAGS: PGOV, KJUS, PREL, SNAR, KCOR, VZ, AR

SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: NEW DETAILS ON ANTONINI-WILSON’S

CHARTER FLIGHT

Classified By: CDA Tom Kelly for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d).

1. © Summary: On August 12, 2008, Hector Fernando Colella, President of Argentine courier firm OCA S.A., provided Emboffs with new details concerning the charter flight brought Guido Alejandro Antonini-Wilson and the now in-famous cash stuffed suitcase to Buenos Aires. Colella’s business partner, well-connected businessman and publishing magnate Mario Montoto, also participated in the meeting. End Summary.

2. © Colella told Emboffs that Royal Class Air is owned by a business associate of his, Pablo Yabron. Royal Class Air charters airplanes, and Colella utilizes Royal for his frequent trips between Montevideo and Buenos Aires. Colella then provided the following explanation for the events resulting in the seizure of US$800,000 at Aeroparque Airport on 08/04/2007, in the early morning hours.

3. © Until the aftermath of the $800,000 suitcase scandal, said Colella, the GoA contracted Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 S.A.(AA2000) for airplane charter services. AA2000 then subcontracted Royal Class Air to actually provide the service. Before the scandal, he said, the GoA utilized Royal’s services four (4) times during 2007. After the scandal, the GoA never utilized Royal again.

4. © On August 3, according to Colella, the Royal jet providing roundtrip service from Buenos to Caracas was delayed upon arrival from Caracas for several hours waiting on the arrival of passenger Antonini-Wilson. When the jet arrived at Aeroparque, the passengers instructed the pilot to proceed to the military/VIP section of the airport, but the control tower directed the pilot to an area near the main passenger terminal. The pilot complied with the instructions of the control tower. After the Royal jet parked in the indicated area, by Colella’s account, the passengers attempted to depart the area in a van with their luggage, but the pilot insisted on following proper protocol and sent the passenger and luggage to customs and immigration.

5. © Colella stated that the pilot is responsible for the passengers and luggage until they are turned over to customs and immigration. The pilot’s insistence on complying with the regulations set the stage for the discovery of the infamous cash-filled suitcase and ensuing scandal, he said. 6. © After the scandal became public, AA2000 instructed Royal to directly bill Ernesa for the charter flight to Caracas. AA2000 had subcontracted Royal. Royal had already prepared the invoice for the AA2000. Eventually, Royal ended up directly invoicing the GoA, but kept all of the e-mails and paperwork documenting the switch.

7. © Colella’s business partner Montoto told emboffs that the airport personnel had a scanner in place that showed clearly that money was in the valise.

KELLY

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