Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s problems are multiplying. As the political crisis within the governing coalition escalates, the former president suffered a major legal setback on Tuesday that thwarted her attempt to stop her only ongoing corruption trial against her.
The Supreme Court has rejected all the claims for annulment it has filed in the Roadway case, investigating public works violations in the southern province of Santa Cruz, the birthplace of Kirchnerism.
In a unanimous ruling, the four magistrates found that the institutional seriousness to which the vice president had asked to intervene in the Supreme Court was not proven, and also found no reason to cancel the trial, which began in May.
For this reason, Fernandez de Kirchner will sit in the dock again on July 11, when the argument phase begins.
The prosecutor’s office can ask for a sentence of five to 16 years in prison for the vice president, depending on the crimes for which she is being tried: leading an illegal association and deceiving the state. She is accused of assisting businessman Lazaro Baes in providing 51 public works.
Fernandez de Kirchner has reason to be concerned. Baez was sentenced to 12 years in prison last year after being found guilty of laundering $60 million in assets between 2010 and 2013, when his name was among the public contractors favored by the Kirchnerists. In just a few years, Baez went from bank teller to millionaire.
In the same process are accused, in particular, former Federal Planning Minister Julio De Vido and former Minister of Public Works José López. Both are in jail for other reasons.
President Alberto Fernandez and head of the Chamber of Deputies Sergio Massa were called to testify as witnesses as former chiefs of staff, but both denied wrongdoing.
If the planned schedule is maintained, the judges are expected to deliver their verdict before the end of the year. Whatever it is, it will affect the race for the 2023 presidential election. The former president’s silence on the decision contrasts with statements in favor of the opposition.
The Vialidad trial is the only one to succeed against Fernandez de Kirchner since Peronism returned to power in late 2019. Over the years, the Vice President has seen judges close important open cases against her, such as the Hotesur and Los Sauces cases, in which she was accused of illegal connections and money laundering; the future dollar and the memorandum signed with Iran.
However, this was not the only negative development for her on the judicial front. The Federal Oral Court 7 also reopened on Tuesday a case known as the “corruption notebooks” in which Fernández de Kirchner is suspected of running an illegal association that collects bribes from high-profile businessmen associated with public works construction.
Having received the emergency funds it requested to investigate this macro-case, which involves fifty defendants, the court decided to notify the parties that in the next ten days they must submit evidence that they intend to use in the debate. , which does not yet have a start date.
The case began in April 2018 after the discovery of eight notebooks belonging to Oscar Centeno, Julio de Vido’s driver. Between 2003 and 2015, Centeno noted in them the trips he made in his car with bags laden with dollars received, according to him, from the hands of big businessmen with contracts with the Argentine state.
The case has been nearly stalled for three years, but Tuesday’s request is the first sign it’s starting to pick up again.
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