The Argentine justice proceeded on Thursday to seize a cargo plane of Venezuelan origin in response to a request from the United States that considers there were irregularities in the acquisition of the aircraft from an Iranian airline accused of having links with terrorism.
The measure was ordered by Argentine federal judge Federico Villena based on a judicial cooperation treaty between Argentina and the United States.
The Boeing 747-300M belonging to the Venezuelan state cargo airline Emtrasur –subsidiary of the Venezuelan Consortium of Aeronautical Industries and Air Services (Conviasa)– was delayed in Buenos Aires since June 6 due to suspicions about its crew made up of Venezuelans and Iranians.
Villena himself is in charge of the legal case initiated to determine if part of the occupants of the flight – four Iranians and three Venezuelans who are free and housed on the outskirts of Buenos Aires – arrived in the country for commercial purposes or because of their alleged connection with international terrorism.
In early August, the US Department of Justice requested the confiscation of the plane for violation of export control laws when in October 2021 the Iranian airline Mahan Air transferred custody of the plane to Emtrasur without authorization from the US government.
US authorities attribute Mahan Air links to organizations the US considers terrorists. For this reason, it is prohibited from carrying out any type of transaction from the United States that is related to goods or raw materials subject to the export administration law.
Likewise, Conviasa has been on a list of companies sanctioned by the United States since 2020, and its fleet was blocked in 2019.
The plane is in a hangar at the Ezeiza international airport and was inspected by experts on several occasions. The crew’s passports and electronic devices were also seized.
The suspicions about the plane are due in part to the fact that Argentina was the target of two attacks in the 1990s – one against the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and the other against a Jewish community center – for which the justice of the South American nation accused the regime. Iranian. Tehran has always denied the accusations.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro publicly demanded the return of the plane.
Source: El Nuevo Herald