'Factop Case': the Court of Appeals decrees preventive detention for Rodrigo Topelberg

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Businessman Rodrigo Topelberg, partner of the STF stock brokerage and Factop factoring, suffered a major setback this Friday. Formalized by his participation in a judicial plot that since last year has shaken Chilean public opinion due to its unexpected ramifications, the Court of Appeals of Santiago accepted the appeal of the Eastern Metropolitan Prosecutor's Office and decreed the precautionary measure of preventive detention for the accused. In this way, he revoked the night house arrest that he had been under since last April 8. The decision of the appeal court this afternoon had the votes in favor of the judges Jorge Zepeda, Alejandro Rivera and the member lawyer Paola Herrera, who welcomed the arguments of the Prosecutor's Office that maintains that the businessman had not collaborated in the case, as considered by the Fourth Guarantee Court, and that his responsibility in the crimes committed in this case is similar to that of his partners Daniel and Ariel Sauer, who They were detained after the formalization. In his appeal, prosecutor Juan Pablo Araya pointed out that according to the background of the investigation file, the mitigating circumstance of collaboration established by the Penal Code is not established. “The specific thing is that to date the accused Rodrigo Topelberg Kleinkopf has not given a statement in the investigation. If he subsequently does so, in due course it will be evaluated whether it meets the requirements of 'substantial collaboration in clarifying the facts', which is also the responsibility of the Public Ministry,» stated the prosecutor. He also explained that the call to give a statement is the response of the Prosecutor's Office and that «the will of the defense is not enough, which did not particularly insist on this possibility.» And he adds that «the existence of complaints and complaints, previous and contemporary, that referred to participation as a defendant and not as a victim as the defense suggests, made a statement complex.» Topelberg is one of the key pieces in the Factop case. It was through his complaint filed against the Sauer brothers in early August that the details of the case were opened to the public. In the legal action, he accuses the Sauers of creating a mechanism for issuing ideologically false invoices to obtain money from the stock market and of operating as informal lenders to favor certain business groups. Among them, he mentions the Jalaff family, at that time the main shareholders of the Patio real estate company, who sold their property a few weeks ago. But the businessman is also one of the first people who had access to the audio where the influential lawyer Luis Hermosilla, together with Daniel Sauer and jurist Leonarda Villalobos, apparently hatched a plan to pay bribes to public officials in order to obtain favors within the framework of the investigation into the stock brokerage STF and the factoring company Factop. It is a recording that was leaked on November 14, 2023 through a publication by the media outlet Ciper and that set up what is known as the Hermosilla case, which to this day generates unsuspected edges. As part of that investigation and after investigating the Whatsapp messages from Luis Hermosilla, prosecutors found evidence that compromised the director of the Investigative Police, PDI, Sergio Muñoz. He would have leaked secret judicial information to the lawyer referring to various cases. After the scandal exploded, Muñoz resigned from his position and, after the investigation was formalized, he is in preventive detention. Following the decision of the Court of Appeals, Topelberg will now be transferred to the Capitán Yáber annex, the same prison facility. where his partners and former childhood friends, Daniel and Ariel Sauer, have been serving preventive detention since last week. Subscribe here to the EL PAÍS Chile newsletter and receive all the key information on current events in the country.