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  HOME | Argentina

Former Argentine President Says Corruption Charges Arbitrary, Groundless

BUENOS AIRES – Former Argentine president Cristina Fernandez testified in federal court on Thursday that the conspiracy and money-laundering charges she faces are arbitrary and groundless.

Fernandez, in office from 2007-2015, published her written testimony on Facebook after delivering it in court to Judge Julian Ercolini.

“It’s impossible to know the precise, concrete and specific criminal action that’s been attributed to me, beyond the re-printing of the story the pro-government media incessantly goes on about,” the text reads.

Ercolini is investigating alleged illegal payments to the Kirchner family (Fernandez’s late husband, Nestor Kirchner, preceded her in office) by construction company officials.

They purportedly made those payments by renting out rooms (that were never used) at a hotel administered by Hotesur, a company belonging to the 64-year-old former president and her adult children.

Fernandez currently faces three indictments – one for allegedly overseeing irregularities in the sale of dollar futures contracts by the Central Bank at below-market rates during her tenure as president and two others for alleged conspiracy in the awarding of public-works contracts.

She says she is a victim of judicial persecution by current head of state Mauricio Macri, who ended 12 years of Kirchnerismo when he took office in late 2015.

Ercolini also summoned more than a score of other people to testify in the Hotesur case: Fernandez’s children, Maximo and Florencia Kirchner; Lazaro Baez, a construction magnate in Santa Cruz province (where Nestor Kirchner served as governor from 1991-2003) who has been jailed for a year and a half in a separate money-laundering case; and 20 other defendants.

Two weeks ago, Fernandez appeared in court as a suspect in a terrorism cover-up case.

The ex-president is accused of conspiring to ensure impunity for Iranian officials suspected of involvement in a deadly 1994 terrorist attack on a Jewish organization in Buenos Aires.

Special prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who died almost three years ago, said that a 2013 deal between Fernandez’s administration and Iran to jointly investigate the suicide bombing at the offices of the AMIA organization, an attack that left 85 dead, was in fact aimed at providing impunity for top Iranian officials.

The deal involved a quid pro quo whereby the two nations were to boost bilateral trade and Iran was to supply oil to energy-hungry Argentina, Nisman alleged.

Nisman was found dead in his apartment of a gunshot wound to the head on Jan. 18, 2015, just days after leveling the bombshell allegations. Ercolini also is handling the Nisman death case and must decide whether to accept a prosecutor’s request that it be declared a murder investigation.

It is currently classified as a “suspicious death.”

 

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