Silvia Majdalani and Gustavo Arribas: Former AFI Officials Remain Under Legal Scrutiny Even Now

Netflix’s ‘ARA San Juan: The Submarine That Disappeared,’ meticulously delves into the incident of the titular vessel’s vanishing and the subsequent scrutiny of the investigation. The unfolding narrative sheds light on the controversies surrounding the high-stakes probe, implicating numerous top government officials in various misgivings. Central to one such controversy are unexpectedly Silvia Majdalani and Gustavo Arribas, former top officials of government-ruled Argentina’s Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) — so now, if you’re simply curious to know where they stand today, here’s what we know.

Who are Silvia Majdalani and Gustavo Arribas?

Born on November 2, 1958, in Belgaro to a Lebanese family, Silvia Majdalani completed her high school education at St. Catherine’s School. Driven by her ambition to advance her career, she pursued higher studies at the University of Belgrano, earning degrees in social communication and business administration. Continuing her educational journey, she then decided to undertake a degree in public relations at the Argentine University of Enterprise, solidifying her academic background in the field.

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In 2003, Majdalani initiated her political career by securing the position of Legislator of the City of Buenos Aires. With prior experience in various public and private enterprises, she became associated with the Republican Proposal List through her dedicated efforts. She successfully embarked on her second term in the same capacity in 2007, emerging victorious in the elections. Therefore, by 2009, she was able to expand her role, becoming a member of the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina. Additionally, she actively participated in parliamentary commissions, contributing her insights to areas such as Social Action and Public Health, Transport, National Defense, and Homeland Security.

Then came 2011, when Majdalani assumed a significant role as a member of the Bicameral Commission of Fiscalization of Intelligence Entities and Activities. Continuing her political journey, she later secured victory in the 2013 legislative elections. When Mauricio Macri assumed the presidency of Argentina in 2015, he appointed her as the Deputy Director of the Federal Intelligence Agency (IFA). In this capacity, she reported to Gustavo Arribas, who also assumed his position as Director of the agency under Macri’s administration. Arribas was reportedly a close ally of the president, making his appointment as AFI’s head rather controversial, especially considering his prior experience.

According to reports, before becoming Director, Arribas used to be an agent and broker for professional soccer players. Despite later facing accusations of being involved in a money-laundering scheme and an alleged history of corruption, he was never convicted. Then there was ARA San Juan’s reported implosion in 2017, soon after which family members of the crew who were advocating for a thorough investigation for answers faced issues. Several instances of hacking and stalking, with photos and chats of the crew members unknowingly disappearing from their devices, were reported. The situation escalated in 2019 when President Macri lost the general election, prompting an investigation into this alleged illegal espionage.

Silvia Majdalani and Gustavo Arribas Have Been Facing Legal Troubles

Former AFI auditor Cristina Caamaño presented the case of this alleged espionage, asserting that intelligence reports on the submarine’s victims and their families were discovered in their recent archives. Silvia and Gustavo thus emerged as key accused figures, among others. Later, former President Macri also faced prosecution. However, in 2022, they were all acquitted of every charge, only for a higher court to confirm the same in 2023. Yet, it appears as if the appeals process is ongoing.

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According to the latest reports, Silvia Majdalani was reportedly considering joining the cabinet of Jorge Macri in Buenos Aires as the Minister of Justice and Security. The latter had won the election in 2023 and currently serves as the Chief of Government in the area. Though it remains unclear whether she ultimately joined the cabinet or not. In 2020, she’d also opened a jewelry store named Khalilas in Buenos Aires and seemingly operates it as an e-commerce too till today.

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Coming to Gustavo Arribas, a new investigation was initiated against him in 2023 to ascertain whether he had left the country illegally or now. The complaint, filed in 2021 by Ema Zulma Sandoval, the mother of one of the victims of the ARA San Juan submarine, alleged that he, who had been prohibited from leaving the country during the espionage investigation, had unlawfully departed to the United Arab Emirates. However, during the court proceedings in 2023, all Arabic language translators excused themselves, leading to the closure of the complaint. Apart from these limited reports involving Majdalani and Arribas, they have maintained a low profile and have not been prominently featured in the media.

Read More: How Did ARA San Juan Sink? Who Was Responsible?