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Former Argentinian president accused of running secretive parallel state

FORMER Argentinian president Mauricio Macri presided over a parallel secret state that spied on hundreds of MPs and social justice campaigners, Congress heard earlier this week.

“We have evidence that links former authorities and members of the Argentine judicial system in this espionage scandal,” Leopoldo Moreau, president of the bicameral commission for oversight and monitoring of intelligence agencies, said on Tuesday.

“Macri created a parallel, clandestine and secret state,” he told Argentinian legislators.

Mr Macri, who was defeated by Alberto Fernandez in the October 2019 presidential election, implemented “a systematic plan of illegal political espionage against over 370 people as a method of domination and extortion,” Mr Moreau alleged.

Investigations were initiated following complaints by the ruling Frente de Todos coalition. Former intelligence agents admitted to spying on behalf of Mr Macri’s government over a four-year period.

Among those kept under surveillance were current Vice-President Cristina Fernandez and more than 70 social, community and religious leaders.

“This espionage network was designed with premeditation and malice aforethought. It used the hegemonic media and the judiciary system to subjugate hundreds of citizens,” Mr Moreau said.

Last year, the Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) revealed evidence that the state had spied on more than 400 people in the run-up to the World Trade Organisation and G20 summits hosted by Argentina.

AFI head Cristina Canamo filed a complaint after discovering a hard drive revealing alleged illegal email spying on people including journalists from the Associated Press, Reuters and CNN, with an Excel spreadsheet containing notes on their political positions.

The congressional commission called for investigation of several judges, prosecutors and others who may have been involved in the illegal surveillance.

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