This Wednesday, August 3, the former Minister of Tourism, Germán Cardoso, declared himself under investigation before the prosecutor for Economic and Complex Crimes, Gilberto Rodríguez, for the complaint of alleged irregularities committed during his administration (2020-2021). Cardoso appeared accompanied by his defense attorney, Jorge Barrera.
After the hearing, the former Secretary of State clarified that he came to testify of his own free will, without relying on parliamentary privileges.
In statements to the press, he pointed out that the direct purchases made during his administration were made based on “history of previous administrations, in identical instances the same was done in administrations of the Broad Front.”
“There was not a single expense in our administration that has not been with the consent and endorsement of the Court of Accounts of the Republic,” he said.
In reference to his alleged link with the Estonian-based company Kirma, which was contracted at the end of 2020 to provide digital advertising services for $280,000, the former government chief replied that “Kirma is part of a purchasing file digital companies that are three companies, not just one, and the amounts are reasonable and equivalent among the three companies. We had no knowledge of the ownership or who owns either Kirma or any of the other three companies.”
Cardoso considered that it has been proven that during his tenure at the Ministry of Tourism “there was no crime.”
Lawyer asks to file the case
For his part, the defense attorney, Jorge Barrera, said that during the Cardoso administration “no crime was committed.”
“We understand that there are elements to file,” he said.
Regarding the mechanism of direct purchase, Barrera responded that “there are elements that are tenderable and elements that are not. Direct purchases have a reason to be with a market segmentation strategy. The mechanism of direct purchase has become absolutely clear that it is provided for legally and that using it in itself does not generate any crime”.
In September 2001, the caucus of deputies from the Broad Front filed a criminal complaint against former Minister of Tourism Cardoso, for “direct purchases observed by the Court of Accounts, acquisitions from a single company for unprecedented amounts and excessive spending on advertising, among other facts”.
Likewise, a parliamentary Investigative Commission was formed.