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Panama Papers: Company under fire in Argentina sells Miami building for $13 million

Offshore corporations: The secret shell game

Offshore corporations have one main purpose - to create anonymity. Recently leaked documents reveal that some of these shell companies, cloaked in secrecy, provide cover for dictators, politicians and tax evaders.
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Offshore corporations have one main purpose - to create anonymity. Recently leaked documents reveal that some of these shell companies, cloaked in secrecy, provide cover for dictators, politicians and tax evaders.

A $13.1 million deal for a CVS pharmacy building in Little Havana wouldn’t normally raise eyebrows — but in this case the seller is a company tied to the personal secretary of the late Argentine President Néstor Kirchner.

The seller, Miami-based Mother Queen Inc., paid $12.1 million for the property in 2012.

Over the weekend, the Miami Herald reported that the CVS building was part of a $65 million real estate empire acquired by an Argentine man named Sergio Todisco and his ex-wife Elizabeth Ortiz Municoy, who owns a Surfside realty firm, between 2010 and 2015. Todisco shows up in the Panama Papers as an offshore corporate front-man for Héctor Daniel Muñoz, a top aide to Kirchner affectionately called el gordo by the president.

$13.1 millionSale price of a CVS linked to a top aide of Néstor Kirchner

The link between Todisco and Muñoz led a federal prosecutor in Argentina to open an investigation. (Muñoz died earlier this year.)

The probe seeks to determine if Todisco was laundering money for Muñoz and other Kirchner associates, several of whom are under suspicion of corruption in cases involving public works contracts. Todisco’s financial records show he couldn’t have made the purchases with his own money, according to a complaint filed by the prosecutor.

The Panama Papers, a massive storehouse of secret documents that showed how the world’s wealthiest people move their money around offshore, were revealed earlier this year. The Miami Herald, in association with McClatchy and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, helped break the story.

Todisco invested mainly in waterfront luxury condos. But he also scooped up commercial properties, including the building leased to CVS at 1177 SW Eighth St., and three bank branches in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

$65 millionAmount spent on U.S. real estate by companies registered to Todisco and Municoy

Corporate records show Todisco resigned as an officer of Mother Queen last year. He was replaced by a woman named Perla Aydee Puente Resendez. Leaked documents from the Panama Papers reveal that he also resigned as a director for Muñoz’s offshore company, Gold Black Limited, based in the British Virgin Islands a few weeks earlier. There, too, Resendez had stepped in.

The buyer of the CVS is a Delaware company that traces back to L. John Wilkerson, founder of Connecticut-based venture capital firm Galen Partners.

Todisco couldn’t be reached for comment. Municoy told the Herald last week she knows nothing about the properties.

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