Saturday, Dec 02, 2023

Argentina vice president slams corruption case as ‘staged fable’

Argentina vice president slams corruption case as ‘staged fable’

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who survived an assassination attempt this month, faces 12 years on corruption charges.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has delivered a fiery final word in her defence, calling corruption allegations against her a “staged fable designed to drag me by the hair to this trial”.

In closing arguments before a federal court on Friday, Argentina’s powerful vice president also linked the judicial proceedings to an assassination attempt on her earlier this month, and suggested that some of the people behind the September 1 attack have yet to be apprehended.

“Until the first of September, I believed that this was all about stigmatising me, banning me, denigrating me, defaming me. But as of the first of September, I realised that there may be something else behind all this,” she said.

“It’s like the judicial sphere is giving social licence so that anyone can think or do anything.”

Friday’s hearing came just weeks after a man pointed a revolver at Fernandez de Kirchner’s head amid a crowd of supporters who had rallied outside her Buenos Aires home in a show of support amid the corruption case. The attacker pulled the trigger, but the gun did not fire.

The assassination attempt drew widespread condemnation but it has had a negligible effect on the public’s opinion of Fernandez de Kirchner, with polls this month pegging her positive image rating at between 24 and 34 percent.

During her address to the court, Fernandez de Kirchner made a point of calling the people now accused in the assassination attempt the “material authors” – saying that “no one can think that that group planned” or “were the intellectual authors” of the attack.

The accused gunman, Fernando Andre Sabag Montiel, 35, has been charged with attempted murder, along with his 23-year-old girlfriend Brenda Uliarte. Two other people have also been arrested.

The case

Friday marked the last opportunity for Fernandez de Kirchner to defend herself before a panel of three judges in Buenos Aires.

She is charged with leading “an illicit organisation” and “aggravated fraudulent administration” in a case that covers a period between 2003 and 2015 during which she and her late husband, Nestor Kirchner, occupied the presidency of Argentina.

Prosecutors say that during her years at the helm, from 2007 to 2015, Fernandez de Kirchner illegally helped direct state funds into public roadworks contracts that were awarded to companies owned by an associate of the Kirchners in the southern province of Santa Cruz, which is their political stronghold.

A total of 51 contracts were awarded to companies owned by Lazaro Baez, who is among 12 other people charged in the roadworks case. Baez was convicted of money laundering in a separate case last year.

“When Nestor Kirchner took over the presidency of the nation, and later his wife … they installed and maintained within the national and provincial administration of Santa Cruz, one of the most extraordinary corruption matrixes that unfortunately and sadly ever existed in the country,” lead prosecutor Diego Luciani said in his remarks last month.

Estimating that $926m was defrauded by the state, Luciani has asked the court to sentence Fernandez de Kirchner to 12 years in prison for her role in the alleged scheme and to impose a lifetime ban on her holding public office.

That triggered huge demonstrations in support of her outside her home, including the one during which the assassination attempt took place.

Political implications

In court on Friday, Carlos Beraldi, Fernandez de Kirchner’s lawyer, went through the allegations made by prosecutors that he said are not backed up by the facts.

Using witness testimony from the trial, he refuted claims that road works were not completed, overpriced or delayed. He also said the cost of the alleged fraud was not a serious estimate. “Cristina Kirchner never issued any directive related to the works under investigation,” said Beraldi.

Fernandez de Kirchner said the prosecutors in this case should be investigated for the “incredible lies” that they propagated, adding that allegations that she headed up an illicit organisation are illogical and unconstitutional. “We were elected by the people. We can never be an illicit association,” she said.

A ruling in the case could come as soon as December, or early next year, when Argentina will have presidential elections.

“This case is important because of the political actors at play,” Argentinian political analyst Ricardo Rouvier told Al Jazeera, noting that Fernandez de Kirchner continues to be the leader of a political minority in Argentina that is nonetheless “very active”.

The implications for next year’s federal election are not yet clear, he added. “We’ll have to see what the outcome is.”


Related Articles

Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
Swedish Embassy in Baghdad Engulfed in Flames Amidst a Firestorm of Protests
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
An Ominous Shift in Warfare: Western Powers Risk War Crimes and Violate International Norms with Cluster Bomb Supply to Ukraine
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner