Two Argentine fans, who arrived in Qatar a few months before the start of the World Cup on November 20, were arrested two weeks ago by the Arab country’s authorities on money laundering charges.
Marcelo Martínez, who promotes himself as a “first fan” on social networks, is one of the people arrested and the most famous. The other is called Iwo Aimar Chiesa.
Martinez, a 54-year-old lawyer from Buenos Aires, arrived in Doha (the capital of Qatar on the Persian Gulf peninsula) on May 3, more than five months ago, after spending her honeymoon in Egypt. The plan was to stay on till the day of the World Cup final to be held on 18 December.
His family, through the Instagram account where “primer hincha” (@primer.hincha) publishes information and videos of his daily life at World Cup headquarters, assured that he was arrested as a result of contact in good faith . , with Qatari criminals “who had a fake real estate agency” when renting apartments in the capital.
“Marcelo was scammed,” the family said in a statement posted to the Instagram account.
Going into a bit more detail, relatives state in the text that Martinez rented several apartments through said company to reserve them for friends who were traveling to the World Cup.
Justice believes that the payments he received through a money transfer company abroad are linked to the said criminal gang.
Claudia, a sister of Martinez, spoke in a report to TN yesterday and said that “she was actually scammed by a real estate company.” After pointing out that his brother had taken care of the apartments “reserved” for “friends from different parts of the world”, he explained that “he transferred money through Western Union to reserve a place for them, because They didn’t get accommodation”.
“My brother is associated with this company, which was and was not a ghost, as it was well looked after in Qatar. These people had the façade of a real estate company, with an office where they contracted, took payments and issued receipts,” he said.
“The reason for the arrest is an investigation into links with a gang of Qatari criminals, smugglers, who laundered money with a real estate company. He paid for the apartment and there were receipts for the payment made by him.”
Claudia Martínez denied that her brother had hatched a sublet plan to pay for World Cup expenses.
After pointing out that “he is a World Cup fan and is participating in three World Cups permanently”, the sister said that “this time it happened that he traveled for honeymoon, he contacted Qatar and At no point was Sablett contracting and as such he did not support his visit to Qatar, but instead supported it with savings from his work”, he insisted.
As of last night, Martinez was only able to contact her partner on the phone once, without being able to do the same to her daughter Elina, who described her agony.
“I didn’t get a chance to talk to my father. Today he was able to talk to his wife, but I could not talk to her. We understand that he is fine. The reality is that whatever the Argentine Foreign Ministry and its consulates are doing is contributing greatly to the situation and ensuring my father’s human rights. But the reality is that it is a very complicated situation as we do not know how we are going to resolve the situation,” said the young woman.
“He was very nervous about a legal issue in a country that has nothing to do with Argentina; It is very complicated to understand. He’s going through a process where he doesn’t have as many answers as we do.”
Both the detainee’s sister and daughter thanked the Argentine consulate in Qatar and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their help and work, who were there to help solve the problem and who gave Martinez clothes, toiletries, a phone Cards and other personal items provided.
Similarly, the family indicated that Martínez resides in the same dependency as the mayor of the Palace of Courts in Buenos Aires. “It’s a very magnificent building. They are looked after, they are fed, they have a place to wash themselves, they have a recreational place to play checkers or chess. In that sense, it Not bad, but it’s the frustration of not knowing how to face a process and not having access to a lawyer”, Claudia explained.
According to driver Jorge Rial at C5N, Chiesa, a native of La Pampa, is in the same condition in which Martinez is arrested.
According to Martinez’s family, the case should have been resolved within a week of the arrest, but as more and more victims emerged, the local justice system decided to extend the period.
“People constantly enter the cause. That’s why the process, which lasted eight days, was extended to 30 days because the affected people appear all the time and they (Qatar justice) want to investigate and make arrests.” Instead, for the mere fact of renting an apartment, you would go and be detained with them,” said the detainee’s sister.
Although his brother is a lawyer, he sought support from experts in local law, translators and consultants due to his lack of knowledge of the judicial system in this country. “If you are in Qatar, you are a lawyer or you have the possibility to contact him, even if he is a partner, we appeal your goodwill,” he closed.
TN interviewed Martinez shortly before arriving in Qatar. In that note, “First Fan” noted that the trip involved a challenge and was a visa for three months.
“We’re applying to work here, they’ve offered us things, but we need sponsorship. My goal is to leave in December,” he told TN via Zoom at the time. To do this, he needed to get a job because he had a tourist visa valid for 90 days.
The Martinez family’s main concern is that the judicial process in Qatar is “complicated” because “local lawyers, translators and consultants” are needed in another language. The investigation was supposed to last eight days, but when the deadline expired, the court took 30 more.