BUENOS AIRES – Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has described a corruption trial against her as an act of persecution aimed at distracting the population of the South American country from the ills of an economic crisis.
The former head of state, who was in office between 2007-2015, denied the charges against her as part of a string of tweets before the opening of the trial.
“It’s obviously not about doing justice,” said Fernandez.
“Just putting up a new smokescreen to try and distract Argentinians, every time with less success, from the dramatic situation of our country and our people.”
Fernandez, who has been a senator since 2017, stands accused of heading an illicit association during her time as president and defrauding the State via alleged irregularities in the allotting of 52 public works contracts worth some 46 billion pesos ($1 billion) to businessman Lazaro Baez. Baez has been serving a jail sentence since 2016.
Fernandez and members of her former government, among them her minister of planning, Julio de Vido, are suspected of setting up a system in order to seize funds that were allocated to road projects.
The former head of state said she should “never” have been named in the trial, adding: “I never intervened in any of the administrative files that were carried out for each and every one of these works.”
In another tweet, she said: “This is a new act of persecution with a single goal: to put a former opposition president in the dock with the presidential campaign in full swing.”
Fernandez, the widow of another former Argentinian president Nestor Kirchner (2003-2007), said she would appear in court on Tuesday “once again,” as she had always done when asked to do so.
Since April 2016, she has testified on multiple occasions in other ongoing cases.
Three days ago, Fernandez announced she would be running for vice president in the October general elections.
“The judges must seek the truth,” she said. “But it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen here.”