HomeNewsThe corruption case towards Argentina’s VP Kirchner, defined | Corruption Information

The corruption case towards Argentina’s VP Kirchner, defined | Corruption Information



Buenos Aires, Argentina – One of the crucial polarising figures in Argentina went on the offensive this week as a corruption trial towards her enters its subsequent section.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the nation’s former president and present vp, has rejected the “media judicial firing squad” that she mentioned has already written her conviction over allegations she led a bootleg scheme that siphoned state funds by means of the awarding of public works contracts to a household buddy.

On Monday, the lead prosecutor within the case requested a federal court docket in Buenos Aires to condemn Fernandez de Kirchner to 12 years in jail and ban her from holding public workplace for the remainder of her life. She has denied the fees and mentioned she is a sufferer of judicial and political persecution.

“I’ve mentioned this earlier than. They aren’t coming for me. They’re coming for all of you,” the 69-year-old advised her supporters on the conclusion of a 90-minute tackle on Tuesday broadcast on her YouTube channel and televised by the media. “For the salaries, for staff’ rights, for retirees, for our indebtedness – that’s what they’re after.”

Right here, Al Jazeera examines the case, the general public response in Argentina, and the potential political ramifications for the South American nation:

What precisely is she accused of?

Fernandez de Kirchner is one among 13 individuals charged within the so-called “Causa Vialidad”, which centres on the awarding of public works contracts within the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, the place she and her late husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, cemented their political careers.

She is charged with “illicit affiliation aggravated by her high quality as chief” and “aggravated fraudulent administration”.

When did this allegedly occur?

The case focuses on a 12-year time interval, beginning within the early 2000s, throughout which 51 contracts had been awarded to firms owned by Lazaro Baez, a businessman who was a buddy and affiliate of the Kirchners. Baez, who was convicted final yr of cash laundering, went from being a financial institution worker to founding a building firm within the days earlier than Nestor Kirchner took workplace in 2003.

The prosecution mentioned that the development agency was solely ever created as a shell firm to extract cash from the state, nonetheless. Practically 80 p.c of the general public works contracts in Santa Cruz between 2003 and 2015 went to Baez, typically at inflated costs or with different particular issues, in line with the prosecution. Of the 51 contracts, 24 had been by no means accomplished, it added.

Folks show towards Fernandez de Kirchner outdoors her dwelling in Buenos Aires this month [Magali Druscovich/Reuters]

What has her authorized workforce mentioned?

The defence has denied the fees. They mentioned the premise of the accusations towards Fernandez de Kirchner was absurd, noting specifically that public works contracts undergo Congress, so any allegation of illicit affiliation, they argued, must then lengthen to that legislative physique.

However prosecutor Diego Luciani acknowledged that almost one-third of the contracts bypassed that course of and those who did contained incorrect data. The left-wing Fernandez de Kirchner served two phrases as president, from 2007 to 2015, following her husband’s four-year tenure.

“When Nestor Kirchner took over the presidency of the nation, and later his spouse … they put in and maintained throughout the nationwide and provincial administration of Santa Cruz, one of the crucial extraordinary corruption matrixes that sadly and sadly ever existed within the nation,” Luciani mentioned throughout 9 days of closing remarks this month, estimating that the alleged “felony manoeuver” price the state $926m.

What does Fernandez de Kirchner must say?

Rather a lot. Denied the possibility to handle the tribunal on Tuesday, the vp in her 90-minute response shared on YouTube denounced a “fictitious” case she mentioned was designed by her political enemies to discredit her and scare others into submission.

“Nothing that the prosecutors mentioned was confirmed,” she mentioned. “They weren’t accusations; it was a script and a reasonably dangerous one at that.”

Displaying articles written by La Nacion and Clarin, two main Argentinian media retailers that she described as “the flagships of lawfare”, Fernandez sought to point out how the “script” was written by the media. She centered on court docket paperwork and WhatsApp chats between one among her co-accused, Jose Lopez — an ex-secretary of public works below each Kirchner governments who was caught in 2016 attempting to cover 5 baggage full of $9m and a semi-automatic rifle in a convent — and Nicolas Caputo, a building firm proprietor and shut confidant of former President Mauricio Macri, who succeeded her tenure.

“When the prosecutor Diego Luciani says, ‘Wherever you press, pus comes out,’ he’s proper. It’s your pus, the pus of Macristas,” she mentioned. “It’s not nearly stigmatising and complicated individuals, however defending those that are literally robbing the nation.”

Supporters of the vp collect outdoors the Nationwide Congress on August 23 [Agustin Marcarian/Reuters]

How does the general public in Argentina really feel concerning the case?

Like all issues that must do with the vp, the Argentinian public is split on the matter. On Monday, after the prosecution accomplished its closing arguments, supporters and detractors confronted off outdoors Fernandez de Kirchner’s dwelling within the posh Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Recoleta.

On one facet, individuals hoisted banners that accused her of being a “thief” and banged pots and pans, whereas on the opposite, her backers sang political chants and jumped up and down in boisterous help. Police used tear fuel and batons to disperse the Fernandez de Kichner supporters, in what her allies denounced as a present of extreme violence. A legislator for the ruling Frente de Todos coalition was briefly arrested.

Oscar Sanchez, a 60-year-old taxi driver, mentioned he and far of the nation was most affluent in the course of the Kirchner years and that the court docket case is about focusing on an financial mannequin. “I don’t belief the media or the judicial system, which is probably the most corrupt system there’s right here,” he advised Al Jazeera. However Maria, a retired radiologist, fumed with anger on the vp, whom she accused of stealing cash. “I feel the case towards her is actual,” mentioned Maria, who declined to offer Al Jazeera her final title.

Supporters gathered outdoors the Nationwide Congress on Tuesday and Fernandez de Kirchner got here out on a balcony and sang chants with them.

What are the following authorized steps, and the way lengthy may this course of take?

The trial has already lasted three years, however there’s nonetheless a technique to go. Subsequent, every of the 13 defendants can have the possibility to make closing statements. They’re every allotted three periods for these closing remarks, and these will start in September.

The native media is reporting that the panel of three judges could return a verdict as early as December, or it may stretch to March of subsequent yr.

As soon as that verdict is delivered, the events have the proper to attraction, first to the Digicam de Casacion Penal after which in the end to the Supreme Courtroom. That potential ultimate listening to in Argentina’s highest court docket may come as late as 2025.

Will Fernandez de Kirchner be allowed to stay in workplace?

The authorized course of has not impeded the vp’s capability to carry public workplace, and won’t stop her from operating in subsequent yr’s nationwide election ought to she select. That’s as a result of even when she is convicted by the Tribunal Oral Federal 2, the conviction should be “agency” — that means all avenues of attraction should be exhausted — and it should include a jail sentence earlier than it might have an effect on her capability to hunt public workplace.

However a responsible verdict would definitely ship shockwaves throughout the nation. All her allies, together with President Alberto Fernandez, got here out this week denouncing the case as judicial and media persecution.

“Past the shortage of proof that the prosecutor demonstrated, the issue is that he began from a premise that mentioned that she, as president, couldn’t not know what was occurring,” the president mentioned. “All of the crimes she is accused of are crimes that require intent, having wished to do it.”

A number of left-wing leaders within the area additionally threw their help behind her, whereas her opponents accused her of delay ways. “As a substitute of defending herself towards the accusations, she talks about one thing else completely,” Patricia Bullrich, the chief of the opposition PRO get together, advised the media. “Will probably be as much as the court docket to resolve whether or not what the prosecutor has mentioned is adequate or not.”

There are at the moment 5 energetic judicial circumstances towards Fernandez de Kirchner associated to different allegations of corruption, and irregular use and disbursement of state sources. She has been acquitted or the courts have dismissed a number of different fees.



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