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  HOME | Uruguay

Uruguayan Economy Minister Resigns Amid Airline Scandal

MONTEVIDEO – Uruguayan Economy and Finance Minister Fernando Lorenzo resigned his position Saturday amid a Justice Ministry investigation of his role in the bankruptcy of Pluna airline, President Jose Mujica confirmed.

In a statement to the press, Mujica said that the Uruguayan government “feels the loss” of the official.

Lorenzo and the president of Uruguay’s state-owned BROU bank, Fernando Calloia, testified Saturday before Organized Crime Judge Adriana de los Santos with regard to the Pluna case.

As part of the investigation, prosecutor Juan Gomez is probing a loan guarantee that BROU awarded to the Spanish company Cosmo to acquire the airline’s planes after its closure.

Argentine businessman Matias Campiani, ex-CEO of the Uruguayan airline, was arrested in Montevideo after testifying for more than 12 hours before the magistrate investigating the airline’s bankruptcy, judicial officials said Saturday.

Mujica, speaking to the press at the presidential office together with Uruguayan Vice President Danilo Astori, said the government “has no doubts” about the “ethical integrity and positive commitment to the national interest” of Lorenzo and the head of the BROU bank.

The president also listed all that his administration did to ward off Pluna’s bankruptcy and, once it happened, to try and minimize the costs.

But “it’s obvious that the results were in no way satisfactory” and that the court “will determine whether they committed any documented errors,” the president said.

Faced with the Justice Ministry’s interrogation of “two trusted officials” of the government, “we will fully respect the decisions taken by the court, as it should be in a society based on the rule of law,” Mujica said.

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