Thursday, June 8, 2023

Vaca Muerta: executives of the sand company NRG Argentina will face an oral trial for serious import smuggling

Without Argentina’s tax information exchange agreements with the United States, it would not have been possible for Zarate-Campana’s federal judge, Gonzalez Chave, and National Economic Criminal Judge No. 2, Pablo Yardarola, to proceed with the investigation. for smuggling. NRG escalated against Argentine directors, shareholders and a customs broker who is believed to be responsible for overselling imports from the United States.

The allure of easy profits through financial mechanisms paid for by widening exchange differences resulted in a ploy of over-invoicing imports that, when discovered by customs officials, put the million-dollar investment made by the company’s shareholders at risk. Put in more than 700 jobs in areas of vital economic importance to the country’s development such as the Vaca Muerta unconventional gas basin in Neuquén province.

NGR Argentina company officials had invoiced US$83 million worth of imports from the United States. The merchandise included “heavy machinery for the assembly and commissioning of a plant to produce silica sand used for the provision of fracture sands for the Vaca Muerta oil and gas industry.”

The financial and criminal manipulation that defendants allegedly perpetrated included returning overvalued dollars received at official value and then selling them at legal value to Cash With Licky, a deal with the difference between the two prices.

So-called Cash With Liquid is a tool that allows individuals and companies to exchange pesos for dollars abroad through the purchase and sale of shares or debt securities.

At that time, judicial investigators had access to information that came from abroad due to agreements with the United States.

With the North American data, it was possible to reconstruct the route of the money and determine that one of NRG’s Argentinian partners was the owner of a bank account linked to the director of the sand company Pablo Marul, with transfers of USD 43. were authorized. million that returned to Argentina through brokerage firms where they were settled at Cash with Settlement (CCL) values ​​to realize the exchange difference.

According to officials from the Customs Import Analysis and Selection Division headed by Guillermo Michel, executive Pablo Marul also had an undisclosed business relationship with Oscar Guercio, president of NRG Argentina and his only client through a simplified stock company (SAS) called MARDG. . And who was the original complainant of the Rajdhani flight maneuvers.

Judgment given by federal judge Charve that indicted both NRG businessmen Oscar Dario Guercio, Damian Strier, for five billion pesos and no preventive detention; And Pablo Marul, director of Marul Heavy Equipment LLC, a supplier of merchandise, confirmed the damage to the Central Bank’s reserves at a time and in the country’s financial context, in which every dollar counts.

“The serious import smuggling operation investigated and resulting in loss to the national state exchequer will allow the defendants to receive, at the official exchange rate, an amount of US$92,339,773, which was subsequently transferred abroad, the submission said. on the basis of false documents”.

In addition, the defendants “… prevented, through the presentation of false documents, the proper exercise of the functions that the Customs Service for the Control of Imports required by law, in a total of 24 functions”, between June 29, 2020 and On April 8, 2022 through the customs of Campana and San Antonio Oeste.

Living with uncertainty in Vaca Muerta

The New Gold Rush moved to Vaca Muerta, a shale geological formation located in the Neuquén Basin in the provinces of Neuquén, Río Negro, La Pampa and Mendoza and whose extension reaches 30,000 square meters, and has since been exploited by the National Energy Began to replace the matrix with the production of unconventional oil and gas.

However, this bonanza experienced by all concerned with companies operating in the basin is at risk in the case of 700 workers from NRG Argentina who await the next steps of justice in a case involving their exasperated trafficking managers.

The fraud allegation threatens the future of operations of the company that inaugurated its plant in the northern industrial park of the city of Allen in Rio Negro, where it was located, following the rejection of General Roca officials, where they initially tried Thi is its operating plant.

The $200 million investment was authorized in November 2021 by the municipality of Allen, which granted it 140 hectares in exchange for sanitation and electricity works in the area.

The authorization to commence operations comes just as hydrocarbon productivity at Vaca Muerta has increased after months of inactivity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The firm, questioned and probed by the customs, started supplying sand to some oil companies in formations set up before the pandemic.

Despite legal disagreements, it currently operates with around 700 employees and has a monthly production capacity of over 60,000 tonnes of inputs vital to the hydraulic fracturing with which the Vaca Muerta well is completed.

Problems with the authorities began before Customs charged him with aggravated smuggling.

A property was closed by the Criminal Court of Cipolletti in Rio Negro because the company was operating on land that was not authorized for that purpose.

Rio Negro revolutionaries recalled that the closure was controversial because company personnel did not allow municipal inspectors to enter the property. Despite this bad attitude towards the control authorities, the company’s managers admitted the mistake of not requesting permission from the Cipolletti authorities to use the property as a warehouse.

The problem with these hours for accused managers is that apologies can’t remedy guilt. The difference of $83 million is a big difference for the national administration, which decided to act in the face of abuse of currency flight and a clear decline in the Central Bank’s reserves.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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