The Senate approved last night the bill to expropriate the Compañía de Valores Sudamericana printing company (CVS, formerly known as Ciccone) for 44 votes against 20.
The company was intervened by the government on 7th August, and that same day the draft expropriation bill was submitted to Congress.
Last night’s debate in the Senate lasted for six hours and has been described by the Argentine media as “tense”. The main criticism from the opposition was towards vice-president Amado Boudou, who was present during the debate in his role as president of the Senate and who is being investigated for allegedly using his influence to favour the current owners of CVS. Opposition senators accused the government of using the expropriation to divert the attention from the judicial case.
The government managed to secure a broad majority thanks to the support of some opposition senators, such as four dissident Peronists and Luis Juez, from the Frente Amplio Progresista (FAP). Juez had submitted a similar bill in April, and despite sharing his concerns regarding the Boudou case, voted in favour of the government’s bill, as he stated that “there is no reason why the prosecutors and judges cannot get to the bottom of the matter.” The FAP’s vote was divided, as the rest of Juez’s fellow party members voted for the negative.
The Unión Cívica Radical (UCR) had also introduced a similar bill in April, however casted a negative vote last night, as well as part of the dissident Peronism and the Coalición Cívica (CC).
The Frente para la Victoria (FPV) senators defended vice-president Boudou against the accusations, and justified the expropriation by saying that the government’s intention is to bring the ability to print bank notes back to the state, something that, senator Aníbal Fernández stated, “the state should have never given away.” Fernández also mentioned that CVS has a $250m debt with tax agency AFIP, which will be taken into account when calculating the compensation the state will pay the current owners.
CVS is in charge of printing sensitive material such as bank notes. The bill approved by the upper house yesterday declares the company as a “matter of public interest and subject to expropriation.” The Chamber of Deputies will vote on it next week and, if passed, it will become law.