Argentine judge denies Maduro government’s request to be a party in the case of the seized plane

The Argentine federal judge Federico Villena rejected the request of the firm of lawyers Gabriel Palmeiro and Maximiliano Rusconi to act as legal representative of the government of the questioned president of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro, as well as the company Emtrasur, in the case of the Venezuelan plane held at the Ezeiza airport, according to the decision to which CNN had access.

The brief states that “neither the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela nor the Emtrasur company is a party to these actions.”

CNN contacted Palmeiro and Rusconi’s law firm to find out their reaction, but they assure that they will not comment on the case for the time being.

CNN also contacted the Maduro government and has not received a response so far.

The Government of Venezuela had appeared last week before the Argentine Justice to formally oppose the seizure of the Boeing 747 cargo, belonging to the state-owned Emtrasur, which Judge Villena ordered last week at the request of a United States court, according to the ruling obtained by CNN.

Palmeiro, a partner in Rusconi’s firm, acts by virtue of a power conferred on him by the president of Emtrasur in Venezuela and the attorney general of that country, Reinaldo Muñoz. According to the request signed by the lawyer, the retention of the aircraft “would represent an arbitrary interference in the public assets of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and in the rights that concern its sovereignty.”

That was the first formal demonstration of the government of Nicolás Maduro before the Argentine Justice to try to reverse the judicial decision that provoked the anger of the Venezuelan ruling party.

Rusconi visited Venezuela this month, and held a meeting with Vice President Delcy Rodríguez and Foreign Minister Carlos Faría to advise the Maduro government on the cargo plane case, a source from the Argentine government and another close to Defense told CNN.

The Boeing, model B747-3B3, registration YV3531, has been held since June at the Ezeiza international airport, province of Buenos Aires, while it is being investigated whether the crew has links to possible Iranian terrorist activities in the country.

The aircraft was subject to a routine inspection by the FBI , under the supervision of the Argentine Federal Police.

Palmeiro had told the judge that he would state that “the Treaty of Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters with the government of the United States of America is not applicable.”

According to the lawyer’s argument, in reference to the legal argument cited by Judge Villena to authorize the seizure of the plane, the treaty “is exclusively applicable in procedures related to criminal matters. While the pretension that the government of the United States of America intends to channel in proceedings is of a different nature (commercial), an issue that, in addition, deprives it of active legitimacy in these actions.”

The request, now rejected, is added to that made by another Argentine lawyer, Daniel Ramón Trava, who represents Emtrasur in the file and who has already appealed the decision to seize the plane at the disposal of Washington. This under the argument that “an irreparable tax is taking place,” according to another document accessed by CNN.

Currently, the court case on the plane is divided into two files in charge of Judge Villena.

The original cause investigates the crew and the destination of the Emtrasur flight to Argentina.

In addition, there is another process in development due to the request of the United States Justice.

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