The president of the tobacco company Tabesa, José Ortiz, pointed out that given the difficulties in exporting after the pandemic and the shortage of containers, they resorted “several times to air shipments”
The Paraguayan tobacco company linked to the Venezuelan-flagged plane detained in Argentina ruled out on Tuesday any link with the aircraft accused of transporting a load of Ibiza-brand cigarettes and destined for the island of Aruba.
“Tabacalera del Este does not have any type of link with that aircraft or with that air freight company,” the president of Tabacalera del Este (Tabesa), José Ortiz, told the Trece newscast.
According to statements by the Paraguayan Interior Minister, Federico González, the aircraft sanctioned by the United States administration landed in Ciudad del Este between May 13 and 16 “with a declared cargo of $800,000 in cigarettes.”
“They were Ibiza cigarettes, manufactured by Tabacalera del Este SA (Tabesa), owned by former president Horacio Cartes. The Cartes company is indicated as part of an alleged money laundering and smuggling scheme in Paraguayan justice reports,” reported the Argentine newspaper La Nación.
However, the company confirmed the shipment last May to the Caribbean island corresponds to businesses that have existed “for more than 20 years.”
Through a statement, the tobacco company specified that the sale had, from the beginning, the characteristics of being Free on Board (FOB). “That is, the buyer chooses and contracts the freight and the seller. Tabacalera del Este SA loads when and where they are told and has no connection, nor is it expected to have one, with the freight used, much less with its crew”.
In this context, he explained that it was the final buyer “who hired a broker and got this aircraft.”
In addition, he indicated that after the sale he requested “the intervention of the National Anti-Drug Secretariat of the Republic of Paraguay (SENAD) to inspect the cargo and certify its legality,” and concluded: “The rest of the considerations, implications, speculations and evident errors or intentions are foreign to the company in an absolute way”.
In this sense, the president of Tabesa, José Ortiz, pointed out that given the difficulties in exporting after the pandemic and the shortage of containers, they resorted “several times to air shipments”, while claiming to be unaware of what happened in Argentina with the plane or if you have “some kind of difficulty” with the documentation or with the passengers.
“We found out about it through the news and we are just another reader or listener of the news,” Ortiz said.
Paraguayan Minister Federico González maintained that when the aircraft landed in Paraguay this information was not known (in relation to the legal status of the aircraft), to which he added that two Dinac officials were removed from their positions as a result of the plane case. , one of them apparently the administrator of the Guarani airport.
The aircraft in question It is a Boeing 747 of the Venezuelan airline Emtrasur, it has remained motionless at the Ezeiza international airport, in Argentina, since June 8 after being stranded due to lack of fuel.
The plane had arrived in Buenos Aires on the 6th and was scheduled to go to Montevideo two days later, but Uruguay denied it access to its airspace, so it had to return to the Argentine airport, where it was detained.
According to the crew statement, the 14 Venezuelan crew members and five Iranians who were traveling on board were accommodated in a hotel in the Argentine capital, while the Iranians had their passports withheld, while the justice system investigates a series of alleged irregularities that have raised suspicion.
This Tuesday, the Argentine federal judge Federico Villena ordered to withhold the passport of all the crew of the aircraft (Venezuelans and Iranians) so they cannot leave the country.
Villena’s order was made in parallel to an operation carried out during the night of Monday, June 13, by police officers at the Plaza Central Hotel in Canning in which the uniformed officers took cell phones, computers, pen drives and other documents that the 19 women carried. people. They were even reviewed by the Police.