Simplified joint-stock companies, a tool for entrepreneurs used by drug traffickers, such as Los Monos

The investigation for money laundering through Simplified Stock Companies (SAS), a figure created by the macrismo with lax controls, settled in the federal Justice of Santa Fe city is a detachment of an investigation that had Lorena Guadalupe involved, among others Melgarejo and Claudio Andrés Casco, following the failed landing of a drug plane. According to the accusation, there are about 32 companies and about 15 individuals that participated in a network that issued more than 8,500 invoices for an amount greater than 731 million pesos. To this is added that, in the investigation carried out by federal prosecutor Walter Rodríguez, some of these SAS were created in partnership with members of the Cantero clan, which has led the Los Monos gang for two decades, as reported last year before a congressional commission Ricardo Nissen, head of the General Inspection of Justice, based precisely on Rodríguez’s investigation. A reform to this norm, which suspends the creation of SAS, has a half-sanction in the Senate, but is blocked in Deputies.

On February 22, 2020, from Paraguay, a small plane carrying an undetermined amount of drugs entered the Argentine territory in an irregular manner, which ended up crashing on a public road located in the jurisdiction of San Justo, in the province of Santa Fe. aircraft could be close to Venado Tuerto, Santa Fe or Rosario.

Prosecutor Rodríguez’s investigation found that Casco and Megarejo, who remain at large, participated in the case of the plane with other actors, including police personnel who covered up these criminal groups. In turn, it was determined that both were part of a conglomerate of companies of the same type that had similar and interwoven characteristics, which led to a new investigation. For the prosecutor, there are two criminal acts that are connected. On the one hand, the use of commercial companies, specifically SAS, as financial vehicles with the aim of laundering illicit money originated in drug trafficking and the existence of an illicit tax association.

In addition, there was a common thread between Casco and Melgarejo, their partners in different legal entities and Ariel “Guille” Cantero, leader of Los Monos. For the prosecutor, the imprisonment of the referents of the drug trafficking business, the reorganization of the illegal business and its mechanisms to legitimize illicit assets could generate the selection of another variant to launder assets and the hypothesis of the use of SAS or SRL and accounts was raised associated banking.

For the prosecutor Rodríguez, between March 2018 and April 2020, companies were formed to commit indeterminate tax crimes through Simplified Stock Companies and individuals that together issued 8,544 invoices for an approximate total of 731,485,352 pesos, despite of not having operational, technical-economic and financial capacity that benefited 1,381 taxpayers in different parts of the country.

There is a first batch of members that formed the constitutive stage of the SAS and a second that was dedicated to materialize the issuance of apocryphal invoices. For the prosecutor, there is an illegal association of interjurisdictional scope dedicated to the creation of “apocryphal invoice plants”, made up of natural and legal persons.

The proof of the case allowed to reconstruct the existence of a network of relationships between them, based on the repetition of partners in the different companies, their administrators, and legal representatives. Also the IP addresses used to issue invoices are repeated and the use of digital or electronic signatures. In the case of the former, the use of a system known as Proxy to redirect the IP was detected, that is to say that through a computer procedure they simulated the real address or identification number of the user. While another part of the billing was done from an IP without Proxy and 4 IP addresses were identified from which electronic invoices were issued.

As determined in the investigation, the capital stock was not compatible with the nature and characteristics of the activities declared in the corporate purpose. According to Afip, these companies did not have the personnel, movable or immovable property to carry out the activity denounced, nor did they have bank accreditations related to billing. In addition, some of the business addresses are non-existent and others have no connection with the activity that is the subject of the firm.

The investigation concluded that some homes located in the city of Rosario, Santa Fe province, are linked to possible retail drug outlets associated with the Los Monos gang. As an example, the address located in Melián at 6400, in the La Granada neighborhood, linked to the Cantero clan was cited.

For the Prosecutor’s Office, it can be inferred that money from drug trafficking was used for the constitution of these firms or for the acquisition of corporate quotas and no legal activity was found in them. To which he added the availability of large sums of money, for example the establishment of fixed terms without having to justify them.

Walter Rodríguez, head of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office No. 2.
Created to commit a crime

The investigation detected 32 simplified stock companies and 15 individuals who issued invoices under these conditions. The preponderant tool used to create these “apocryphal invoice plants” was the Simplified Stock Companies, describes Rodríguez.

“The Simplified Stock Companies (SAS) are a fraud; they are created in 24 hours, used and thrown away. They are a model to mask fictitious companies ”, said in September of last year Nissen before the General Legislation commission of the Chamber of Deputies.

“The regulatory regulations of the SAS have received severe questions for constituting an instrument with the potential to be used for illicit purposes, as it enables its creation within 24 hours based on simple and meager requirements, using model statutes for this purpose, providing an expedited process at very low cost, and requiring a minimum capital equivalent to two minimum wages, vital and mobile, of which only 25 percent integration is required at the time of constitution, “added Nissen, reading the federal judge’s resolution Marcelo Bailaque for which he ordered more measures to unravel the fraud that this figure allows.

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Nissen spoke of three ongoing criminal cases that account for the criminal matrix that was hidden behind the law for entrepreneurs: the case of a former Macrista official, the former Secretary of Coordination of the Ministry of Production Rodrigo Sbarra; the money laundering case related to Los Monos in Santa Fe, and another criminal investigation in Córdoba that investigates an illegal tax association that SAS generated (at least 16 detected) to issue apocryphal invoices that were later sold to different companies.

According to the Afip page, simplified stock companies are a type of company established by the Entrepreneurial Capital Support Law whose main objective is to promote entrepreneurial activity and the generation of capital in the country, as well as its international expansion. This figure that was created during 2017 in the mandate of President Mauricio Macri allows companies to be incorporated quickly, simply and at a lower cost. But the control over these companies seems to have been inadequate, according to what legislators opposed to macrismo repeatedly denounced.

The Prosecutor’s Office highlighted the severe questions that this figure had and its potential to be used for illicit purposes, since they can be created in 24 hours with simple and meager requirements, at very low cost and with minimal capital. To which was added the lack of control of these companies.

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