Wednesday, July 15, 2020

ARGENTINA | 20-03-2019 12:52

Another corruption charge for Fernández de Kirchner as cases mount up

Scandal-hit former president facing more graft charges, as string of judicial cases pile up in the courts.

Former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was charged with a new corruption case for the second day running on Tuesday afternoon, this time related to irregularities in the concession of subsidies for train and bus operators.

The former head of state was charged with "illicit association, bribery and fraudulent administration."

The 66-year-old senator for Buenos Aires province is facing a host of other investigations in the courts, as her judicial woes mount. A previous indictment had been handed down 24 hours before on Monday, for the fraudulent import of liquid gas, bringing the number of cases against her to 10.  

Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio asked that Fernández de Kirchner be remanded in pre-trial custody with bail of one billion pesos (US$25 million). But the Unidad Ciudadana leader, who was president from 2007 to 2015, is protected from incarceration by partial parliamentary immunity.

Local outlets said ex-Planning minister Julio De Vido, ex-Transport secretary Ricardo Jaime and fellow former Transport secretary Juan Pablo Schiavi were also charged, as well as a large number of businessmen linked to transport, such as Mario Cirigliano, Carlos Kovac, Hector Ledesma, Aldo Roggio (formerly of Metrovías), Benjamin Romero (Ferrovías), Roberto Urquía and Romero (Ferrocentral), Carlo Cappelli (Emergency Operating Company), Sergio Cirigliano (TBA), Sergio Taselli and Julio José Forastieri (Metropolitan Transports Belgrano Sur), and others.

Fernández de Kirchner is currently in Cuba, where her daughter is receiving hospital treatment for an unconfirmed health problem. The former head of state has blamed Florencia Kirchner's condition on the "political and judicial persecution" the Kirchner family is facing, a reference to criminal charges against the former president, her son, Máximo Kirchner, and Florencia, based on alleged crimes involving hotels owned by the presidential family. 

Among the previous 10 cases brought against Fernández de Kirchner, the most notable is the 'cuadernos' corruption notebooks scandal, in which she is accused of having received tens of millions of dollars in bribes. In that case, the prosecution claims that a total of US$160 million in bribes were handed over between 2005 – when her late husband Néstor was president – and 2015.

Fernández de Kirchner hopes to stand in October's presidential elections and is the closest rival to President Mauricio Macri, according to the polls.

The first of the many trials the former president faces for corruption begins on May 21, in a case in which she is accused of having corruptly favoured businessman Lázaro Báez in the attribution of 52 public works contracts worth 46 billion pesos (US$1.2 billion) during her presidency.




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