Santiago Maratea trust declared "irregular" 2:18

(CNN Spanish) -- The General Inspectorate of Justice (IGJ), which legally controls companies and civil institutions based in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, asked to appoint an auditor in the trust launched by the "influencer" Santiago Maratea in search of raising funds to help pay the debts of Club Atlético Independiente, one of the most traditional soccer institutions in the country.

The IGJ questions the transparency of the collection campaign launched in April, which already accumulates more than US $ 1.6 million, considering that the registration of the trust is "ineffective and irregular," according to a resolution signed by the head of the agency, Ricardo Nissen.

Nissen asked the IGJ's legal affairs department to appoint an auditor as a matter of urgency. The resolution maintains that Maratea registered the trust in the province of Neuquén instead of the Capital, where he has his domicile, to avoid the control of the agency. In a video he posted on May 31, Maratea says the trust has nothing to do with Capital, because none of those involved reside in the city. The IGJ includes in its resolution the address that Maratea has declared before, although he says he now lives in Greater Buenos Aires, outside the city

In the same video he claimed that they had been given until the 29th of that month to file the trust paperwork, adding: "We did not do it because we were late drafting the debt and we presented it today, 31."

He assured that "those days of delay is the irregularity, which is already corrected because we presented it in the morning" and added that "at 13 the letter of the irregularity arrived and at 13:15 the mail that the trust is already registered in the IGJ. End." Although his position is that there is no relationship between the trust and the Capital, he points out that he presented to the agency a copy of the registration made in the province of Neuquén as an action of "goodwill."


Despite Maratea's public response, the investigation is still under the purview of the IGJ. Nissen told CNN that "the procedure is moving forward, but there are still a few days to go." The agency "has to be issued on the trust agreement. If there are observations, Maratea has to answer them within a reasonable time," he said. And he added "later if you sign up, everything will be fine."

The context in which the Maratea collection arose

Independiente, which is based in Avellaneda, south of the capital, faces a difficult economic situation as a result of debts amounting to US $ 20 million, in addition to the inhibition to hire players imposed by FIFA in January 2023 for non-payment. Faced with a panorama that could include the bankruptcy of the historic institution, an unusual collection led by the "influencer" emerged, who in an interview with Radio La Red said he had become a fan of the club from the collection, after having previously been a fan of Boca and Racing.

Maratea is known for having led million-dollar fundraisers for people with different needs, and has the backing of millions of followers on social networks and celebrities.

After being contacted by fans of the club through his social networks, he announced that he intended to collaborate with the cause. "Since Sunday I receive messages from Independiente fans. So I ask a question only for the people of Rojo: are you to organize us, make a collection of fans and try to help at this time one of the most important clubs in America?" he wrote on his Twitter account on April 11. The post had more than 11,400 likes and was shared more than 4,700 times, between quotes and retweets.

Independiente's shirt at a match on February 9, 2020, in Avellaneda, Argentina. (Credit: Rodrigo Valle/Getty Images)

After the favorable response of thousands of people, Maratea announced that it was going to create a trust for the collection, which was registered with the College of Notaries of the Province of Neuquén on April 21. He officially launched the campaign on April 27. The collection is made exclusively through Mercado Pago (Mercado Libre's online collection platform) with deposit or transfer options equivalent to between US$ 8 and US$ 66 approximately.

Although he had not mentioned it initially, the "influencer" acknowledged that he will keep 5% of the proceeds from the fans. In a video posted on his networks, he said that: "If we collected $ 8,800 million, I would earn 400 million (pesos). It's crazy. They told me 'you have to say that it is a legal obligation', I must say that I am surprised (sic). I found out about this when I signed." The IGJ also points out in its resolution of May 31 that the expenses and fees established in the contract for the benefit of Maratea are "exorbitant." CNN contacted the Maratea press to know their position on what the IGJ resolution says about the expenses and fees of the trust, but for now did not receive a response. So far the "influencer" has used his only social networks, in story format, to talk about the collection.

The initiative had the support of Independiente, which supported the initiative and provided the club's facilities to launch the collection. It was there that Maratea presented the proposal in the company of Miguel Ángel Santoro, legendary goalkeeper of the team, and whom the IGJ identifies as one of the trustees of the trust "Maratea Rojo Gogo". In a few hours, more than US$ 473,000 received as a donation. According to the latest update published by Maratea on June 2 on Twitter, the collection already exceeds US $ 1.6 million.

In the midst of all the repercussion of the initiative in social networks, the Federal Administration of Public Revenues (AFIP) confirmed to CNN that it had received a request to request information on donations greater than a certain value, but the tax agency said that they have not yet made a resolution in this regard.

What does Independiente say about the Maratea collection?

Néstor Grindetti, interim president of Independiente, referred to Maratea's trust in an interview with CNN Radio Argentina. "Independent doesn't get involved... We didn't get involved at all," he said about the process of raising the money.

Grindetti maintains that "it is a complex debt, which was US $ 3 million originally and US $ 6 million was made for the breaches of the previous commission", in relation to the most urgent commitment that the club has with América de México for the contract of the player Cecilio Domínguez.

The leader added that in the coming days they will seek to coordinate with Mexican investors to initiate the payment of the debt. And, at the same time, they will ask Maratea to transfer part of the money to them.