NEWS Argentine Vice President Cristina Kirchner Indicted on Corruption Charges

Argentine Vice President Cristina Kirchner Indicted on Corruption Charges


BUENOS AIRES — Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, a prominent and polarizing figure in Latin America who served two terms as Argentina’s president, was convicted Tuesday on corruption charges , was sentenced to six years in prison and banned from holding public office for life.

A three-judge panel has ruled that Peronista, 69, may be the most powerful U.S. politician of the past 20 years after she handed over millions of taxpayer dollars to a family friend during her presidency , guilty of fraud. She was acquitted of leading an illegal organization that orchestrated bribery and overpricing in roadworks projects in Patagonia.

Kircher has denied wrongdoing and is expected to appeal. She has called the Supreme Court a “firing squad” engaged in a witch hunt aimed at preventing her third run for president next year. As vice president and senator, she enjoys immunity from prison and a ban on running for office until her appeals are exhausted, which could take years.

Argentine vice president shot unsuccessfully

“The president is not responsible for the execution and management of the budget,” Kirchner said in a live video on social media after the ruling was announced. “I don’t legislate. I don’t approve budget laws. Those are the House of Representatives and Senators. I’ve absolutely proven … I can’t control (that).”

She said she would not run for office next year.

Prosecutors say Kirchner funneled money to construction magnate Lázaro Báez during his presidency from 2007 to 2015. Several officials in her administration have been convicted in different corruption cases.

During her and her late husband and predecessor, Néstor Kirchner’s tenure, Baez’s companies won dozens of government contracts to build road infrastructure in the Santa Cruz province. The sprawling, sparsely populated province of southern Argentina is the home of the Kirchner family and the base from which they built their political dynasty in the 1980s.

Argentina’s economy is collapsing. The Peronistas are at it again.

Prosecutor Diego Luciani called the case “one of the most extraordinary corruption schemes” in Argentina’s history. Baez was awarded about 46 billion pesos for 51 road projects from 2003 to 2015, authorities said; nearly half of them, prosecutors said, were left unfinished.

Báez registered his firm, Austral Construction, days before Kirchner was sworn in as president in 2003.

“Lázaro Báez, a friend and business partner of the president at the time, became a construction businessman overnight,” Luciani said during the charges phase of the trial.

Báez, like former Public Works Minister José López, was also convicted on Tuesday and sentenced to six years in prison.

Worried about inflation? In Argentina, it’s a way of life.

It was the first conviction for Kirchner, who has been investigated on multiple charges. She was found not guilty; the others were fired. They include corruption allegations and accusations that she helped cover up allegations that Iran bombed a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994.

The judgment comes at a difficult time for the South American country. The annual inflation rate is close to 100%. Spiraling at around 100% per year, the risk of social unrest looms. Kirchner was assassinated in a botched assassination outside his apartment in Buenos Aires. When Luciani asked for a 12-year prison sentence in August, thousands of Kirchner’s supporters took to the streets to express their dismay.

Related posts

NEWS Pentagon eyes expanded Ukrainian military training


NEWS Iran Supreme Court accepts rapper Yassin’s appeal against death penalty


NEWS Analysts’ wargame finds China’s invasion of Taiwan would fail, but US pays big price | Taiwan