BUENOS AIRES – A video broadcast on Argentine TV on Wednesday allegedly showed how a former government minister tried to get rid of plastic bags crammed with millions of dollars shortly before being arrested.
Jose Lopez, Argentina’s onetime Public Works minister, was nabbed late June 14 after allegedly trying to get rid of $9 million.
The footage was allegedly taken by a security camera earlier that day.
The broadcast by TeleFe alleges the images are of Lopez arriving at around 3:00 a.m. local time and pushing the bags into the convent of Our Lady of Fatima in the town of General Rodriguez, 50 km west of Buenos Aires.
The convent’s doors can be seen and a figure allegedly that of Lopez, who was a minister during the governments of Nestor Kirchner and Cristina Fernandez (2003-2015), can be seen leaving bags beside the door along with a 22 caliber rifle, later impounded.
The figure then rings the door bell.
A nun opens the door and squeezes the bags through while the figure goes for more bags.
The footage shows the figure leaving through the convent’s main entrance without the rifle.
According to government sources, the police had arrived to find Lopez “throwing bags” over the convent’s wall after receiving a phone call alerting them to a man acting suspiciously.
Police in a patrol car saw “he ran into the convent.”
Police also found six luxury watches and an expired arms permit with the money.
The provincial Government of Buenos Aires later said Lopez had “free access” to the convent.
The nuns allegedly said Lopez and ex-Planning Minister, Julio de Vido, had been regular visitors.
Lopez, 55, was arrested and charged with alleged money laundering and owning a weapon without a valid arms license.
Lopez had been investigated for the past eight years on suspicion of fraud.
He has been in detention in Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza prison where he awaits a court hearing.
Cristina Kirchner has called for all public works contracts to be audited.