BUENOS AIRES – Argentine police searched on Thursday the Buenos Aires apartment of former President Cristina Fernandez as part of a probe into allegations she received millions of dollars in bribes from business leaders.
Amid a crush of reporters and supporters of the ex-head of state and current senator, several Federal Police officers entered the building in the Recoleta neighborhood where Fernandez resides when she is in the Argentine capital.
Judge Claudio Bonadio had requested that searches be conducted of the apartment in Buenos Aires and also of Fernandez’s two houses in the Patagonian towns of Rio Gallegos and El Calafate, and the Senate unanimously approved them on Wednesday night.
The searches required Senate authorization because Fernandez has parliamentary immunity as a member of the upper house of Congress.
Fernandez spent Wednesday night at her daughter’s apartment in Buenos Aires’ Constitucion neighborhood, according to local media.
The leftist ex-president, who voted in favor of the property searches, on Tuesday urged senators to support the measure as a way to end the “show” surrounding her legal situation.
Fernandez – the target of six investigations, including four corruption probes – says she is convinced she is being politically persecuted by her successor, conservative President Mauricio Macri.
Thursday’s search was conducted as part of a case that has led to the arrests of business executives and former government officials.
The scandal erupted over notebooks in which a chauffeur for Argentina’s Planning Ministry kept records for more than a decade of trips in which he said he delivered bribes paid by business executives to officials in the administrations of Fernandez (who governed from 2007 to 2015) and her husband, Nestor Kirchner, who was president from 2003 until 2007.
Fernandez and Kirchner, who died in 2010, are among those suspected of receiving bribes in exchange for helping companies obtain government contracts.