The former custodian of Lacalle Pou offered to make wiretaps and telephone espionage with the official government system

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The Prosecutor's Office affirms that “there is no certainty” that he really used the “El Guardian” system and that it could have been a “boast” on the part of by Alejandro Astesiano

The former custodian of Lacalle Pou offered to make wiretaps and telephone espionage with the official government system

The former head of presidential security maintained contact with a businessman who produces wheat and soybeans for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, interested in finding out if “any 'stealthy' vehicle” was involved in the unauthorized unloading of wheat and soybeans “of his property” in Uruguay. (AFP)

The former custodian of Luis Lacalle Pou, Alejandro Astesiano, offered to use the wiretapping system of the Ministry of the Interior, called El Guardian.

In the framework of the investigation that involves Astesiano in a network of falsification of Russian documents, La Diaria released a series of conversations recovered from his cell phone and included in the file of the legal case. According to the outlet, the former custodian maintained contact with a businessman producing wheat and soybeans for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, interested in knowing if “any 'stealthy' vehicle” was involved in the unauthorized unloading of wheat and soybeans “of his property” in Uruguay. In the conversation, cargo operations are mentioned in different departments of the country such as Colonia, Soriano and Río Negro.

At a certain moment, Astesiano refers to his work and how he was acting to find out the information requested by the employer. It is in this instance that the alleged use of The Guardian appears.

“So I'm looking at something with the head of Intelligence. Sir, we enabled 5,000 El Guardian lacks [matches] with the phones. No one shows any link or maneuvers and no one in the past 100 days has contact with people from Prexpol or the mentioned cell phones”, says Astesiano in a message.

The businessman, for his part, told him that 1,000 meters from the entrance to one of his fields there were “investigation people and patrolmen.” Consequently, Astesiano moves his contacts and forwards him the message he received from the people he allegedly sent to the area: “Alejandro, it's impossible, our cars are totally private. We removed everything, lights, windshield and antennas. We put firewood on the Mishubishi in the back and yesterday we muddy everything. We are working at 2 kilometers and a bit with the drones to identify license plates and trucks. What we have seen are rural police patrols but normal tours, we did not see anything out of the ordinary, more in search of poaching”.

Finally, Astesiano repeats that it is about Rural Police and affirms that “they don't even know about the movement from there.” In addition, the former custodian of Lacalle Pou shared with the businessman six Uruguayan telephone contacts.

El Guardian

The Guardian is the listening system of the Ministry of the Interior, which can only be accessed by judicial authorization. It was purchased in 2013 and makes it possible to espion and monitor any private communication via telephone, email and social networks, as long as there is judicial authorization to do so. This year Uruguay purchased a system upgrade that allows for new features. The Guardian is considered the “Big Brother” of crime.

For its use, the Police must request it, then a prosecutor must consider the request as valid and later a judge authorizes it. After that, the telecommunications companies listen and send the information to the Police.

Prosecutor Gabriela Fosatti is currently investigating what use Astesiano gave the tool. However, the spokesman for the Prosecutor's Office, Javier Benech, declared that “there is no certainty” that the former head of presidential security actually used El Guardian for criminal purposes. “Just because someone claims to do something doesn't mean they actually did it,” he added.

The Home Office's response

The Ministry of the Interior, meanwhile, assured that “it is impossible” for El Guardian to have been accessed “without the intervention of the judge and prosecutor.” “The system by which legal interceptions are carried out gives full guarantees that only through the intervention of a competent prosecutor and judge can wiretapping be carried out, requesting telecommunications operators to execute the measures ordered by order court”, said the portfolio in a statement.

In this sense, the ministry maintained that the reports of legal interceptions “are permanently audited by the Supreme Court of Justice” and “suggest , mentioning or affirming that there are legal interceptions without a judicial order is totally false.”