Power, mistreatment, opulence and arrogance: what is read about José Alperovich in the sexual abuse case

José Alperovich, prosecuted for sexual abuse (Nicolás Stulberg)

Criminal case files are an inexhaustible source of data that allow the accused to be known even if they have never been seen in life. In those of homicide investigations, in addition to the autopsy, you can read a description of the crime scene. There are plans and, with a little imagination, it is even possible to reconstruct the place where the body was found. But you can also delve into the family history of the murdered person and the customs of the murderer.

In the investigations for illicit enrichment, the system of figureheads and accounts set up abroad will be exposed to try to hide the increase in assets of the accused. And it will also be possible to know certain habits and preferences of the person under investigation, since in the accounting reports appear, for example, the purchases that he made in the supermarket for years. He drank Malbec wine, consumed low-calorie products, bought cat food and took advantage of the 2×1 discount on detergents.

An investigative statement recorded in a file can reveal a defense strategy. As happened in the case of those accused of a series of illicit acts committed in the PAMI in which all the suspects blamed a member of the board of directors of social work for retirees for the maneuvers. The designated, unknown and irrelevant in decision-making, he had died a few months before the round of inquiries began. The idea was to incriminate the man who had died. The judges did not believe them.

In cases of human trafficking, in which women are exploited by organizations made up of aggressive and ruthless people, reading the file reveals forms of subjugation and confinement typical of the time of slavery. The sequestration of documents, the obligation to deliver part of the proceeds to the person who manages the place and physical violence as a form of intimidation are reflected in each of the testimonial statements of the exploited.

In cases of sexual abuse, the story of the victims -which is recorded in the file- It is usually devastating. In addition to the description of aberrant facts, the characteristics of the living conditions of both victims and perpetrators are also read there.

Last Tuesday Joseph Alperovich was prosecuted by the Investigating Judge of the Capital Osvaldo Rappa in the case involving prosecutors Mariela Labozzetta and Santiago Vismara. News of the prosecution broke on Wednesday.

The prosecution was issued for “simple sexual abuse repeated three times” (two of those cases, tentative). The judge also prosecuted him for “aggravated sexual abuse for having had carnal access” on six occasions and considered that the acts had been committed “via abuse of power and authority” which “due to its circumstances and duration, caused the victim an outrageous sexual submission.”

José Alperovich in his time as governor of Tucumán
José Alperovich in his time as governor of Tucumán

On the content of that resolution of the judge and the facts that gave rise to the prosecution, a well-detailed note was already published in Infobae -which accessed the judicial document- the day after the decision was made public.

In the prosecution of José Alperovich, governor of Tucumán between 2003 and 2015 for Peronism -although of radical origin- and later a national senator, you can read why he is held responsible for the crime of sexual abuse, but not only that. In its 414 pages It also shows the way in which power is exercised, public resources are used and how some jurisdictions in Argentina are administered.. That’s what this note is about.

The information contained in a court ruling of this nature can be a small window into the privacy of those in charge. It allows observing those who are masters and lords of a territory. It does not matter if the territory is in the North or the South, or if the names and surnames of those who govern or are printed on the electoral ballots belong to this or that party. It is suspected that many of those who occupy positions of power live very differently from those who vote for them. And in the prosecution of Rappa against Alperovich there is support for that hypothesis.

The woman raped by Alperovich – the daughter of a first cousin of the former governor – described in her statement an opulent lifestyle in a poor province like Tucumán, a work method based on the abuse of power both in the treatment of employees and in the use of public funds, a rude and pedantic attitude, a management of money for the purchase of wills.

She served as Alperovich’s personal assistant., managed the daily agenda, coordinated meetings and visits; It recorded all the work orders that were made to one of the owners of Tucuman politics. The stories of the situations come from someone with access to the small table of one of the powerful Tucumans.

Alperovich had two houses in the provincial capital. Both huge and, due to their sumptuousness, contrasting with those of the humble neighborhoods of Tucumán. and also had a house in the suburbs which, as he explained, he “rented” to a family closely linked to provincial businesses.

As if this were not enough, Alperovich also had two apartments in Puerto Madero. One located next to the other in one of the highest category buildings, in one of the most luxurious areas of the City of Buenos Aires: Zencity. Alperovich settled in one of the departments and on the edge, the collaborators who accompanied him on his trips from his province to the Capital, seat of the Senate of the Nation.

When he moved between his province and the capital, Alperovich – along with his closest circle – did not make the 1,300-kilometer journey by car or by bus; not even by airliner. They traveled in small planes of the Province.

Staying at his shelter in Puerto Madero, he had nothing to worry about. Alperovich’s secretary from Buenos Aires – a different person from the one who assisted him in Tucumán – left ready food for him in the refrigerator of the apartment located in the Zafiro Tower of the Zencity building. Alperovich was not even supposed to use his cell phone to order delivery for his dinners. He had on hand what he needed because an employee of the Senate of the Nation had taken him to the place where the man from Tucuman spent the nights. In the mornings he would put on his jogging pants and go for a walk through the luxurious Puerto Madero, far from the deprived neighborhoods of San Miguel de Tucumán.

After the walks, he began his Buenos Aires activity. On one of the days that were described by the victim to put one of the abuses in context, Alperovich went in his chauffeur-driven car to a meeting at the Argentine Sugar Center. He then went to the city of Buenos Aires to speak with one of the most important bankers in the country about his personal finances.. In the middle of these two procedures, according to the victim, Alperovich gave her a bundle of bills to buy a dress in a mall to which she was taken by the driver. She did not and returned the money, she clarified.

The former governor, always according to what was reported in the file, took – back in 2018 – 30 pills a day for various health problems. The administration of the medicines was taken care of by the drivers who had an Excel spreadsheet in which the schedule in which Alperovich had to take each medicine appeared. In other words, the drivers, in addition to driving the car in which the former governor was traveling, were in charge of giving his boss medication.

In the processing, the victim explains that, after the abuse complaint was known, there were contacts between Alperovich’s family and his. The woman said that the former governor called a cousin and offered him a monetary solution to prevent the criminal case from growing. He was also recorded in the statement that at the same time as the offer made by Alperovich, his daughter – a friend of the victim – tried to call the cousin of the former senator and father of the complainant to intercede. Alperovich’s son-in-law made arrangements in the same direction. They all failed. The power of money – which in the case of the Alperovich family is a lot – had no effect on that occasion.

According to the indictment, Alperovich used the same strategy as almost all those accused of sexual abuse when testifying in the investigation. He said that the victim had lied and blamed a Tucuman political network for the accusation against him. He spoke of his “sullied honor.”

Alperovich said that his defense attorneys had told him – by virtue of his experience in criminal matters – something that happens in cases of sexual abuse: “That it had been proven that many women lie for different reasons: revenge, revenge, spurious interests, hatred, convenience, search for prominence, attempts to obtain economic advantages and other dark designs.”

José Alperovich, former national senator for Tucuman Peronism
José Alperovich, former national senator for Tucuman Peronism

In addition to assuming a superior role in the bond –the victim recounted that he told her that she was safe by his side and that working for him she could feel and see the power she held, not only in the province of Tucumán but in the country, and that she should appreciate that he had decided to have her your side working as your personal assistant-, one of the arguments that Alperovich used to try to dismiss the arguments against him was that he was a very trustworthy person and had multiple tasks that he carried out without problems.

Precisely, one of these assignments shows another of the characteristics of the political prebend spread throughout the country. Alperovich said that he had ordered his accountant to give the victim the money she requested to distribute it among the leaders involved in the 2017 electoral campaign. The powerful and millionaire man who distributes money among his ranks also appears in Alperovich’s profile that can be reconstructed from the snippets shown by the cold handwriting of the prosecution.

In these descriptions, in addition, a rude man appears, both in his speech and in his behavior. It is said that he had no qualms about making jokes in bad taste or off-color comments in front of whoever he was. He could be surrounded by assistants, custodians, drivers and friends without this preventing him from saying, for example, to a woman who asked him for a photo, phrases like “you want to hang out with me, fuck with me.” The victim’s account also indicates that Alperovich groped her in full view of his collaborators. The rude had passed, as described by the victim, to the instance of abuser.

In the Alperovich prosecution there is no reference to millionaire deposits protected in a tax haven with white Caribbean sands. It is the only detail that is missing to complete the profile imagined by film and series writers who want to tell the story of a powerful feudal lord of a small province of a Latin American country, prosecuted for sexual abuse.

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Power, mistreatment, opulence and arrogance: what is read about José Alperovich in the sexual abuse case