Tecnópolis: a fair, a couple and the milloinaire that was poor

In 2012, reading the Official Bulletin (Boletín official), we started to detect high prices in the direct hiring of firms for building stands at a fair organized by the national government, known as “Tecnópolis”, and that functions as a mega show of science, art and technology, inaugurated in June 2011 by the president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Officials that hire their own companies for the fair

In march 2013 we began following a lead that  Ariel Santamaría and Claudia Risolía, two officials of the federal Planning Ministry, had a firm (Multideas S.A.) that had been hired by the office of the undersecretary of Housing, part of that agency, to build the stand of the agency and carry out activities in it. 

We began a search through the web to obtain public data on both officials and their firm. The company in its web site reported on the activities and events carried out at the fair and for the office of the undersecretary. We proceeded to capture the most relevant screen shots, certified by a notary, for the story.

In parallel, and with the object of obtaining the public document of the contract, we entered a request of access to public information to obtain the list of suppliers of services to the stand or that had helped build it. Two similar requests were made, signed by different journalists, asking for the same information with different texts. Both were answered similarly.

The answer was that no firm had been contracted, since the office of the undersecretary signed an agreement with two universities to take charge of everything related with Tecnópolis.

When we began to study the papers sent by the government office, we detected that the person signing as the substitute in charge of the office of the undersecretary was Claudia Risolía, official of the Planning Ministry and one of the owners of Multideas S.A.

The next step was trying to find the link between the two. So we decided to ask for the patrimonial statements of both officials at the Anti-corruption Agency (Oficina Anticorrupción). At the time the regulations established that the officials had to include the names of their spouses or the people they lived with.

Claudia Risolía did not have to present that document because of the position she had, but Ariel Santamaría did. In his public papers, Santamaría informed that Risolía lived with him and that both were owners of the firm Multideas S.A. When asked in the official papers if his firm had contracts with the agencies in which we worked, the official denied it.

In short, what happened in this case was that that the person signing the agreement with the universities for transferring the funds, received them as shareholder of the company that was hired.

The story was published June 5, 2013, and embedded was the agreement with the university with the name of the official highlighted and the amount of the contract. Also published were the screenshots of the online site, a video and Ariel Santamaría’s sworn statement with the information of his firm and the participation of his wife.

The whole story here.Officials K and successful business people: the couple that won the contracts for Tecnópolis

The firm with ghost offices

After this investigation we continued to search for contracts related with Tecnópolis and the office of the under secretary of Housing in the web site of the National Agency for Cotnracts. We detected that in 2012 the agency hired the firm SAI Servicio Asesoramiento Iluminación SRL for building the stand with more than 13 million pesos (around 2,6 million dollars at the official rate of 5 pesos to the dollar at the time) in funds. After verifying some company data, the offices stated in the Official Bulletin proved to be inexistent.

This time to carry out the activities related to the fair, the office of the under secretary of Housing signed another agreement, with the National University of La Matanza for around 15 million pesos.

The story was published June 6, 2013, and included the copy of the document of the agreement, which was obtained with the request of access to information mentioned in the previous story. It included the text of a video of the stand.

Read the full story  here.(Julio de Vido Tecnópolis – The money of the stands went to the hands of ghost companies)

The owner of the millionaire firm

In this story we continued the investigation on the company, studying its composition. In this manner, and through a search in the 2012 Official Bulletins, we detected a change in the ownership composition of the firm a short time after those 13 million pesos went to SAI Asesoramiento Iluminación.

The current owner was called and there was an interview with her. The woman, whose identity we wish to preserve, was 22 years old and lived in a very poor area. When asked if she knew one of the previous owners, she informed us that she met periodically with her, that this person gave her money and promised to find her a job.

The article narrating this story was published June 10, 2013, and it include a copy of the agreement of the office of the under secretary of Housing with the National University of San Martín, images of the stand and documents of the hiring of SAI Asesoramiento Iluminación.

Read the full story here (Georgina owner of a a firm that received millions)

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