Venezuelan lawyer Ana Teresa Argotti stands behind a table covered with the materials found in her car following her arrest by Venezuelan federal police. Story, courtesy of La Tabla:
A lawyer, Ana Teresa Argotti, “girlfriend” of the former Venezuelan diplomat Misael López Soto and advisor to Lilian Tintori, was captured in Caracas with passports, identification cards, and materials for creating such documents in the car she was driving, during a routine traffic stop by agents of the Bolivarian National Police (PNB), according to a reliable source.
The 36-year-old woman was carrying 17 ID cards, 6 passports, 9 pieces of currency paper or ID-printing paper, 20 plastic covers for IDs, 6 seals, and 36 official stamps. Such articles are for the exclusive use of the identification service, and for that reason, having them in one’s possession implies falsification of identity documents. She was also carrying 200 dollars and 300,000 bolivars in cash.
Misael López is the former counsellor to Venezuela’s embassy in Iraq. On CNN, he denounced a supposed network trafficking and selling Venezuelan passports. These accusations were denied by foreign minister Delcy Rodrígues on February 15, when she offered proof that the former functionary is linked with the Voluntad Popular party and anti-Chavista groups based in the United States, and also participated in an attempt at fraud using embassy funds.
According to information obtained by La Tabla, the investigation following Argotti’s capture will focus on establishing possible links to López Soto in cases of falsification of identity cards and passports, which have been given to citizens of Arab and Asian origins.
Also, the investigators are evaluating the hypothesis that Argotti has been linked to the falsification of a passport for parliamentary deputy Luis Florido so he could travel to the United States.
Ana Teresa Argotti isn’t just any Venezuelan lawyer. She happens to be working for Lilian Tintori, the wife of Leopoldo López, the head of the Voluntad Popular party, who is currently in prison for his role in an attempted coup in 2014. Regular readers of this blog will recognize both of those names, I’m sure. For those who are new here, hey, now you know, too! Here she is with her client, Tintori:
They sure do look chummy.
As for the fake IDs and passports (made with genuine official materials, surely a federal crime in Venezuela), we have yet to find out who received them and why. Given that Argotti’s boyfriend, Misael López Soto, used to work for the Venezuelan embassy in Iraq, and that they were apparently handed out to persons of Arab and Asian extraction (which Iraqis are), it would appear that there is, indeed, some kind of fake-passport and fake-ID trafficking operation underfoot over there. It will be interesting to see who the recipients of these very realistic forgeries were and what their business with Venezuela might be.
I’ll be keeping an eye on this story, as developments are bound to get awfully interesting very soon. For now, though, just know this: It’s one more nail in the political coffins of Prettyboy Leo and his wife, Lilian Tintori.