An Argentine crime premieres, the film that the condemned man will never be able to see

The premiere of “An Argentine Crime,” the film about the disappearance and death of businessman Jorge Salomón Sauan, will have no effect on the man convicted of murdering him 42 years ago in the heart of Rosario. Juan Carlos Masciaro is oblivious to everything three years ago. this lawyer received at the Catholic University in 1970 died three years ago in Coronda. There he spent most of the 16 years he was imprisoned. There he stayed to live when he came out of the dungeon. In that city he died in 2018.

He left the world without ever acknowledging his guilt in that case that shook the city four decades ago, although all judicial levels confirmed that it was him. The evidence against him was abundant and a hypothesis that led to another person or another reason never emerged.. The judicial file returns a much more difficult dispute between the prosecution and the defense than is presumed. The film that can be seen from this Thursday throughout the country replaces the intrigue and a good part of the facts adapted from fiction. A case that still produces pain. And that centrally focuses on the opaque and hardened figure of the condemned.

He had graduated from the Catholic Law School in Rosario and had practiced the profession since the early 1970s. But in 1975 he was discovered for selling the same field to two people near Pergamino. A field that, it was detected in the processing of the cases, did not even exist. He was imprisoned in Coronda until October 1980 when he was released on parole.

Two months after leaving Juan Carlos Masciaro was accused of plotting a new way to make money. It took place on December 16, 1980. Videla was still governing. That Tuesday night he went to dinner at the Sirio Argentino Club in Italy at 900 with the textile businessman Jorge Salomón Sauan. Later he invited him to have a drink at his apartment in Montevideo at 1600. He served him a whiskey with a powerful amount of sleeping pills. He called the victim’s uncle, announced the kidnapping of his nephew and demanded a ransom of one million dollars.

According to the court ruling, he made several purchases. A cylindrical asbestos cement tank, 50 bags of soil, a ficus and two drums of sulfuric acid. Six days after the dinner at the Syrian club, Masciaro returned to court to sign his parole control and they left him in custody for the strange disappearance of Sauan. He had been the last person to be with the businessman. He had a criminal record and a woman said she had seen them the night of the call in the Montevideo department at 1600.

Masciaro said that due to economic problems, Sauan had pretended to be held captive to extort money from his family.. And that she was in Brazil from where she called him to find out how the case was progressing. She claimed to be only his accomplice in that.

The investigators stayed ten days in a row in the department of Masciaro waiting for the eventual call from Brazil to take place. The judge in the case was Jorge Eldo Juárez. The secretary was Alberto González Rimini, who would later be the sentencing judge. There was also someone who would be in the 90s, a magistrate with a folksy air, likeable, with a strong public presence: Carlos Triglia.

In the tedium of waiting, it was Triglia, said González Rimini, who questioned why the asbestos-cement tank gave off abnormal heat. They rifled through a stack of old newspapers and disassembled it and noticed two glass drums with the labels ripped off. Given all the strangeness of the painting, it was decided to send the tank to Headquarters to analyze the land. Since it was very heavy, they decided to empty the tank and carry the contents in bags. Within two weeks, a dental prosthesis appeared in the examined soil. Then a bracelet, remains of a shoe and a fragment of a right foot.

The investigation concluded that Masciaro put Sauan to sleep with the sleeping pills poured into the whisky. He later took his life (the criminal procedure does not define how) and put the body in the tank. He bathed it in sulfuric acid contained in the drums and threw away the bags of soil. Then he planted the ficus. He was charged with unlawful deprivation of liberty followed by death. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and once again returned to Coronda.

Nine years later, and thanks to successive commutations of sentence, based on exemplary behavior, and the benefit that computed two days of prison served for each one spent in preventive detention, Masciaro began to have releases from prison. On one of those outings he robbed a pharmacy on Moreno and 3 de Febrero and was caught red-handed. That meant a new prison sentence. On December 16, 1994, he executed all his pending sentences and took to the streets.

He did not return to Rosario. He settled in Coronda, where the resonance of the unique crime for which he was convicted did not seem to dent his ability to move. He began working in law firms advising clients and also writing writings based on his professional experience. Of course: he could not sign the presentations because when he was convicted, his registration had been cancelled. He first worked in the law firm of Luis “Bocha” Gervasoni and later in that of Juan Bautista Fossaa lawyer who gave him a job, with the idea that he had already settled his accounts and that he had the right to his professional insertion.

“Today I am sorry that I was the one who gave him that opportunity,” says Fossa 28 years later from Coronda, where he lives. “I must have met him in 1991 or 1992. It was said that with his personality and charisma he managed the workshops and the entire Coronda prison. He had a subtle ability to connect with people and a great intellectual dexterity, in the same writing he accurately quoted Kelsen and Pythagoras. But she never stopped cheating. He falsified seals, powers of attorney and left people on the canvas. In fact after so many falls she already admitted it. Although he maintained that he was a fraudster, not a murderer,” the lawyer said.

The affliction that Fossa confesses is having served as a boost, with the support offered, for Masciaro to continue with his chain of fraud. “I didn’t know how to take the proper precaution and with our consent he made disasters. He was a smoke seller. He had all the traits of a psychopath: tremendous memory, deeply narcissistic, very manipulative and fundamentally a being without remorse.”

He continued to accumulate legal cases but with the sentences served he demanded his re-registration without success. In December 1997, he was prosecuted for threatening to kill his ex-wife and his sister, whom he accused of wanting to take over a property. Year after year he asked to be rehabilitated as a lawyer to practice. And time and time again the Rosario and Santa Fe Bar Association and the Criminal Justice Department rejected him. He went on with his life. He had a program on an FM called “Saturday morning” that day from 9 to 12 in which he opened the microphone to listeners. And even he was an informal adviser to the administration of Juan Lafuente, mayor of Córdoba.

In 1997 he had legally married Marta with whom he lived for a decade in a house on 25 de Mayo street. He was imprisoned for the last time in 2007 when Judge Luis Malfanti sentenced him to a year and a half in prison for using an apocryphal power. The sentence was effective because he was a repeat offender. They sent him to Las Flores prison. His wife passed away before he got out.

In 2002 the journalist Reynaldo Sietecase published in Alfaguara “An Argentine Crime”. The journalist from Rosario was doing a workshop at the New Journalism Foundation of Gabriel García Márquez. He had been exploring the topic for years, he had chosen it as the text to work on the course and he passed it on to Tomás Eloy Martínez, who had worked with him on Página/12, for evaluation. “Before criticizing him, I want to tell him that there is a novel there,” the author of “Santa Evita” told him.. Based on the book, shooting was completed in Rosario in March for the film, which opens in four days. Darío Grandinetti, Luis Luque and Rita Cortese lead the cast.

A couple of years before the last time he was imprisoned, he insisted that they replace his license plate. The power of his name had made the matter a hot topic in the media. His family in Rosario had moved away from him. His only daughter lives in Salta where she is a teacher. Since she was eight years old, she has not carried his surname.

In Coronda they say that Masciaro used to lie about his age. A documentary record indicates that he was born on October 6, 1945. He died in that city on August 22, 2018, with exhausted lungs after a non-stop life as a smoker. He would have been, if the data is not false, 72 years old.

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