BUENOS AIRES – An Argentine federal court heard opening statements on Tuesday in the trial of prominent businessman Lazaro Baez and a score of other people in connection with alleged corruption in the awarding of public works contracts during the 2007-2015 tenure of former President Cristina Fernandez.
The defendants are accused of setting up a string of shell companies and offshore bank accounts between 2010-2013 with the purpose of laundering at least $60 million.
Baez, behind bars since 2016, is the owner of construction firms that won government contracts in the southern province of Santa Cruz, where Fernandez’s late husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner, was governor from 1991-2003.
Fernandez, now a senator, was subpoenaed last month to testify in the case, but has not been formally charged.
She denied any wrongdoing in a brief submitted to the investigating judge.
Although the case began in 2013, it took a turn in March 2016 when a television network aired footage showing Martin Baez, Lazaro’s son, counting large sums of cash in a Buenos Aires office.
The event resulted in a warrant for the arrest of Lazaro Baez, who was later indicted along with his son and the rest of the defendants.