Astesiano case: court finds "strong evidence" to keep ex-vice consul imprisoned

Astesiano case: court finds "strong evidence" to keep ex-vice consul imprisoned

The Court of Appeals of 3either Turno confirmed the accusation of the former Uruguayan vice consul in Russia Stefano Di Conza for 14 crimes of fraud in concurrence outside of reiteration with 14 crimes of assumption of marital status. His lawyer, Florencio Macedo, had appealed the first instance decision of Judge Fernando Islas to order his preventive imprisonment until March 2023, but the court rejected it, according to the sentence to which he agreed. The Observer.

Macedo had argued that the regulations require that there be “serious and well-founded suspicion” that Di Conza could escape and/or hinder the investigation. He argued that in his case there is no such suspicion, that he was always available to the Prosecutor’s Office and the administrative investigation —in which no irregularity was detected— that was carried out at the Foreign Ministry. In turn, there is no evidence that he communicated at any time with the rest of the defendants. He insisted that, from the time the case was disclosed until he was arrested, two months passed in which he did not leave or destroy evidence.

However, the court chose to echo the tax theory, which was put forward in audience by Gabriela Fossati. The ministers José María Gómez and Julio Olivera understood that Di Conza could flee to Russia, where his couple is from. In turn, because he is an official of the Foreign Ministry, he has access to evidence that can later be of vital importance for the investigation.

“The Chamber estimates that the materiality of the fact and the participation of the accused has been duly accredited through solid evidence embodied by the Prosecutor’s Representation,” they stated. And with regard to this, they decided to maintain the first instance decisions of Judge Islas in all their terms.

How Di Conza fell

Di Conza’s name had already appeared in the investigation on more than one occasion. Both the notary public Álvaro Fernández and the Russian citizen Alexey Slivaev pointed to the ex-consul as one of those who “facilitated citizenship” to Russian citizens who did not correspond to it “pretending that (…) they had an ascendant of Uruguayan nationality”, according to the prosecutor in the case, Gabriela Fossati, replied at the hearing.

Roman Karpov – the Russian citizen who was arrested red-handed trying to process his passport with a false departure – admitted to the prosecution that he had no Uruguayan relatives. However, he said that a person who lived in Saint Petersburg and who was some kind of manager had told him that he had “contacts” at the Uruguayan consulate in Russia. Regarding that contact, he gave her two characteristics: that it was a man who was married to another man of Russian origin and, second, that the official had been transferred to Uruguay again, which made things difficult. So, the Karpov process, which had begun in 2019 or 2020 (the prosecutor said she did not remember the exact date at the hearing) was delayed until 2022 and involved Karpov traveling to Uruguay (which did not happen when the official was there). Di Conza left the consulate on November 7, 2018.

Declared Foreign Ministry official and supported Di Conza

Days ago, a Foreign Ministry official who worked with Di Conza in Russia testified before the prosecutor Gabriela Fossati. She is about a person who shared several years with him in that country and treated him very frequently.

as he learned The Observer, the prosecutor consulted him about the degree of command of the Russian language that the defendant had and who was in charge of supervising his work. The official, broadly speaking, supported the proceeding of the accused.

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