BUENOS AIRES – A former Argentine lawmaker and powerful Cabinet minister under late President Nestor Kirchner and President Cristina Fernandez turned himself in to authorities on Wednesday after the Chamber of Deputies, at the request of the judiciary, withdrew his parliamentary immunity, thus ensuring that he would be arrested for corruption.
Although police showed up at Julio De Vido’s Buenos Aires home immediately after the lower house approved the measure to arrest him, shortly thereafter it became known that the ex-lawmaker had presented himself – in the company of his attorney – to federal court to turn himself in, whereupon he was taken into custody, sources close to the accused told EFE.
De Vido was facing two arrest orders in connection with investigations into alleged fraud in the administration of a power station in the southern province of Santa Cruz that never came to fruition and price gouging in the importing of liquefied natural gas.
Amid the initial confusion over his whereabouts, a crowd of curious citizens showed up at his home in the Palermo neighborhood to witness De Vido’s arrest, although he was ultimately taken into custody in court out of public view.
In a cellphone video posted on the Infobae online news Website, the former lawmaker is seen entering the courthouse.
The Planning portfolio held by De Vido was created by Kirchner himself and included the greater part of the government’s budget – billions of dollars – for public works, energy and housing, among other sectors. De Vido served in that capacity under both Kirchner – who died in 2010 – and his wife, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, during their 2003-2015 administrations.
Now, the courts will determine how and when De Vido will be transferred to prison to await trial.
Former President Fernandez is also facing several corruption charges, although she acquired parliamentary immunity upon winning a senate seat in Sunday’s legislative elections.