The Argentine Supreme Court held that local courts had jurisdiction over these matters

Recently, the Argentine Supreme Court (the “Supreme Court”) decided on two jurisdiction disputes between national and local courts arising in cases related to crimes committed using  the internet (Argentine Supreme Court, “Pavón, Cristian Sebastián”, CCC 66074/2014, November 29, 2016, and “Piccadaci, José Guillermo”, CCC 60569/2015, December 20, 2016).

The first case was related to an investigation on charges of fraud through “phishing”. The person under investigation was suspected of gaining access to a victim’s bank account and transferring funds to his own account. 

The judge in charge of National Criminal Court No. 24 stated that said Court had no jurisdiction to hear the case. The judge referred the case to Court No. 2 of the Lomas de Zamora judicial division, since the bank account from which the funds were transferred was from a branch of a bank located in Monte Grande, Province of Buenos Aires. The local judge, however, found that the case could not be heard there either because the “phishing” operation had been conducted from Canada and the disposal of the funds had occurred outside Court 2’s jurisdiction.

The second case was an investigation on fraudulent sale of transport tickets through a social network. This was conducted by obtaining unauthorized access to the computers of travel agencies using a foreign IP address.

The judge in charge of National Criminal Court No. 25 found that it had no jurisdiction over the case and consequently referred it to the local courts of Río Gallegos. It considered that Río Gallegos was the location of the act under investigation, since the money obtained from the fraudulent sale was placed in a savings account in the branch of a bank located in that city, and since two withdrawals had been made there as well. Conversely, Court No. 1 of Río Gallegos held that it had no jurisdiction over the case. It considered that the national court had acted prematurely, since both the place from which the deposits were made and the moment in which the economic damage was caused were unknown.

The cases were submitted to the Supreme Court. In both, the Attorney General found that the local courts had jurisdiction, based on the need for procedural efficiency and on the places in which the relevant actions occurred. Moreover, it stated that many relevant facts were still unknown and that the crimes had probably been conducted using connections abroad which were simulated. It concluded that the local courts should continue the investigations, based on the known facts which had occurred within their jurisdiction.

The Supreme Court referred to the grounds laid out by the Attorney General, and determined that the local courts had jurisdiction in both cases.