Argentina: union leader accused of money laundering, and blackmailing

Juan Pablo "El Pata" Medina is accused of illegal activities in La Plata, Argentina

Juan Pablo  

Leer en Español: Argentina: líder sindical acusado de soborno, chantaje y lavado de dinero

Juan Pablo Medina is a union leader of the UOCRA, Argentinean Building Workers Union, of the city of La Plata, capital of the Buenos Aires province. The authorities accuse him of blackmailing, money laundering, illicit association, and intimidation. He is also accused of organizing a gunfire shooting in a railway construction.

However, hours before his capture, "El Pata" entrenched himself in the UOCRA’s headquarters in La Plata. Nearly 400 members of the union protected him and were prepared to block the detention of their leader with Molotov cocktails. Medina also threatened the authorities to burn the entire province of Buenos Aires, if he was detained.

According to the investigation, "El Pata" Medina organized the union as a mafia. He blackmailed entrepreneurs to give him and his posse permission to build in the city. According to the investigations, authorities assured that because of Medina's extortion there are nearly 60 construction works stopped in the city. Julio Garro, mayor of La Plata, said that the bribes that Medina demanded created an additional cost of 50%.

After the capture, security forces had already seized US$328.372 in cash, various bank accounts, more than 100 cars, an airplane, a helicopter, a yacht, and weapons that might be property of "El Pata" or of his figureheads.

The judicial authorities are now following the tracks of "El Pata" and are investigating some other members of the UOCRA in La Plata and in Bahia Blanca, where the municipality and construction companies accused the union of demanding bribes in the construction of highways 35th and 51st.

 

 Latin American Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández 

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

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