Argentina: Cristina Kirchner judged for the first time for corruption

Argentina: Cristina Kirchner judged for the first time for corruption

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Cristina Kirchner, Argentina president from 2007 to 2015 and vice-presidential candidate, faces Tuesday in Buenos Aires at her first trial, for malpractices in the award of public contracts in Patagonia.

Ms. Kirchner, a 66-year-old lawyer, is being prosecuted in several cases under investigation for money laundering, personal enrichment, embezzlement or bribes. Many of his ministers have been remanded in these cases.

The date has not yet been set, but she will be judged in another money laundering lawsuit with her two children.

Prior to her arrival at the Comodoro Py Court, the former president denounced “an act of persecution (by the center-right president Mauricio Macri), whose sole purpose is to place a former president and opponent on the bench of the accused, in the middle of the electoral campaign “.

Cristina Kirchner announced on Saturday that she gave up running for president in the October 27 presidential election on behalf of her Civic Unity party. It is one of his lieutenants and former prime minister, Alberto Fernandez, who will covet the presidency, and she will even run for vice president.

Mrs. Kirchner succeeded her husband Nestor Kirchner, president from 2003 to 2007. He died of a heart attack in 2010.

Tuesday’s purely formal hearing brought together three key figures from the Kirchner clan, who are quoted with Ms. Kirchner in several proceedings.

This is the businessman Lazaro Baez, whose companies won most tenders in the province of Santa Cruz, the former Minister of Planning (Public Works) Julio De Vido and his vice – Minister Jose Lopez.

The latter had been in the news in June 2016 when he was arrested in the middle of the night, concealing $ 9 million in cash in a convent near Buenos Aires.

All three, relatives of Nestor Kirchner, are in custody and the former president would be also without her immunity as a senator.

The trial for the invoiced but sometimes unrealized projects was due to begin in February, but the death of one of the judges forced him to be reprogrammed for 21 May.

As part of the investigation, Ms Kirchner’s homes in Patagonia and Buenos Aires were searched.

The trial, which began Tuesday at 12:00 (15:00 GMT), is expected to last one year, at a rate of one hearing per week.

According to one of his lawyers, Gregorio Dalbon, the accusation against Ms Kirchner is “a fabrication”.

As some people in the Kirchner administration did, the former president would have to repent and collaborate with the law, said one of the repentants in another proceeding, Victor Manzanares, the Kirchner Historical Accountant. “Let justice be done,” he said, predicting “convictions.”

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