Fernando de Santibañes
Fernando de Santibañes is an Argentine politician and banker. He was the Secretary of Intelligence of the Argentine Republic from 1999 to October 23, 2000, during half of Fernando de la Rúa's presidency. De Santibañes resigned the position in 2000 after the media discovered the Secretariat's involvement in the Sentate Bribes scandals. He is currently facing judicial charges.
De Santibañes studied at the Universidad del Salvador and the University of Chicago. He was a banker at the Banco Financiero from 1984 and headed the company from 1993 until it was sold to the Banco Francés in 1995. It is alleged that de Santibañes made a fortune during the 1989 currency devaluation. He also led the Banco de Crédito before his close friend de la Rúa appointed him to government.
Administration and resignation
During de Santibañes' administration of SIDE, 1,200 personnel were fired, drastically reducing SIDE's professional capability. The Secretary was also blamed for the Bribes in the Argentine Senate scandal, in which SIDE provided money that later were used to bribe senators to support government legislation.
De Santibañes was one of the most unpopular secretaries in SIDE's history, as well as the most scandal-ridden. Internally, de Santibañes was mocked as "Chanel Nº 5", "The millionaire detective", "Superagent 86", "Seañ Tibañes 007 (with license to kill): Diamonds are forever", etc.
In 2000, an employee of the Directorate of Finances committed suicide at the 25 de Mayo Avenue offices, by jumping from a 7th floor window overlooking an internal patio. Later that year, another employee attempted suicide by cutting her veins in one of the building's restrooms; luckily, an emergency medical intervention saved her life. These mysteries were never solved, and are one of the most remembered events during de Santibañes' administration.
On October 23, 2000 de Santibañes resigned as chief of Argentina's State Intelligence Secretariat (SIDE). His resignation came a day after he staged a series of television interviews in which he criticized the ruling political coalition, the "Alliance," saying it should dissolve because its internal crisis was hampering economic growth. His resignation had been demanded by members of FrePaSo, the government's junior coalition partner, and de la Rúa's reluctance to sack de Santibañes led to his vice-president, Carlos Álvarez's resignation.
Since resigning from government, de Santibañes has dedicated himself to breeding horses at his lagr estate in Pilar, Buenos Aires.
Jorge de la Rúa
|Secretary of Intelligence
- Boimvaser, Jorge (2000). Los sospechosos de siempre: Historia del espionaje en la Argentina (Chapter: "El Detective Millonario"). Editorial Planeta. ISBN 950-49-0688-5.
- Spy chief denies his agency paid bribes in Argentina, CNN, October 2000
- Santibañes, replaced by Becerra as Secretary of Intelligence, La Nación, October 23, 2000