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Cablegate: Active Abroad, Stymied at Home; Argentina's Anti-Corruption

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1283 1831758
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 021758Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8563
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6319
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 6184
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACS 1322
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JUL MONTEVIDEO 6551
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0546
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001283

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR INL/PC FOR CHRISTINE CLINE AND NEGAH ANGHA
DEPT FOR INL/C/CP FOR JOHN BRANDOLINO, ROBERT GIFFORD, DAVID LUNA
AND DIANE Kohn

E.O. 12958:N/A
TAGS: KCRM KJUS PGOV PTER SNAR AR

SUBJECT: ACTIVE ABROAD, STYMIED AT HOME; ARGENTINA'S ANTI-CORRUPTION

OFFICE STRUGGLES TO CHANGE A CULTURE OF CORRUPTION


REF: SECSTATE 43557


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On June 26, Ambassador Wayne met with head of the

Office of Anticorruption, Dr. Abel Fleitas Ortiz de Rozas to discuss

possible increased cooperation on anti-corruption issues. Fleitas

highlighted his office's very active participation in international

anti-corruption conventions, but stressed the importance of working

bilaterally with the U.S. to combat corruption. He described his

office's efforts to change the current Argentine cultural tolerance

of corruption through promoting transparency, prevention campaigns,

improved investigations, and more efficient prosecution. Fleitas

had three specific requests for assistance: a series of digital

video-conferences on cross examination/expert witnesses, attending

the next conference of the Council on Government Ethics Law (COGEL),

and participating in the State Department's International Visitor

programs and other exchange programs. Post has already facilitated

contact with COGEL and will work with the Office of Government

Ethics in Washington to facilitate the DVC series, as well as

consider OA staff for IV programs. END SUMMARY.


2. (SBU) On June 26, Ambassador Wayne and emboffs met with head of

the Office of Anticorruption (OA), Dr. Abel Fleitas Ortiz de Rozas.

(See SEPTEL for background of the Anticorruption Office.) Fleitas

opened by describing some of the challenges Argentina faces in its

fight against corruption: a general public tolerance of corruption,

the lack of a culture of transparency, and a slow and cumbersome

legal system that hinders his office's ability to successfully

prosecute cases. He mentioned that, while his office has brought

many cases to trial, there are far fewer convictions. Fleitas

requested USG assistance in strengthening the OA's skills in oral

arguments, particularly related to cross-examination and their use

of expert witness testimony. He was interested in Ambassador

Wayne's offer to facilitate a series of digital video conferences

with our Department of Justice on the topic.


3. (SBU) Fleitas highlighted his office's very active participation

in international anti-corruption conventions. He mentioned

Argentina's participation in the Conference of State Parties (COSP)

related to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC),

the Mechanism for Follow-up on the Implementation of the

Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (MESICIC), and the

OECD's Anti-bribery convention. He cited Argentina's participation,

along with the USG, in the pilot evaluation program of the UNCAC.

He expressed appreciation for the USG's leadership role in promoting

these conventions and gratitude for our recent offer of assistance

with the UNCAC checklist (REFTEL).


4. (SBU) Ortiz de Rozas also discussed the OA's efforts to change

the current Argentine cultural tolerance of corruption through

promoting transparency, prevention campaigns, improved

investigations, and more efficient prosecution. He expressed

admiration for what he called the U.S. culture of transparency and

its history of whistleblowers, and discussed a few recent projects

to raise awareness of the problems of corruption. Fleitas expressed

interest in attending the annual conference of the Council on

Government Ethics Law (COGEL), which includes as a member the U.S.

Government Office of Government Ethics - a long-time partner of the

OA. He also expressed interest in how participation in

international exchanges and visitor programs might help improve the

expertise of his staff.


5. (SBU) Post has already facilitated contact with COGEL for the

OA and passed the conference registration form and schedule to

Fleitas's office. Post plans to work with the Office of Government

Ethics in Washington to facilitate the DVC series, which may involve

some coordination with the Department of Justice. Post will work

with the LEGATT to identify appropriate experts on oral proceedings.

Post will also continue to consider OA staff for IV programs and

other professional exchanges.


Wayne


=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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