Argentina's head of the tax office, Ricardo Echegaray admitted 'business links' between president Cristina Fernandez and businessman Lazaro Baez, who has been accused of money laundering and falsifying documents.
In a radio interview in Buenos Aires, Echegaray confirmed the existence of a contract between one of the Kirchner family hotels, and Baez who until recently was virtually the sole contractor of public works in Santa Cruz province, which the Kirchner couple have dominated politically (and financially) for almost two decades.
However Echegaray pointed out that this does not mean they are partners or associates. He added a society or partnership exists when two persons have a common interest, which is not the case between Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Baez, who had very close links with the late president Nestor Kirchner.
The head of the Argentine tax office also admitted that his office, AFIP, had investigated several of Baez companies for fiscal elusion and using fake purchase and payment bills.
It looks as if the only case of fraud bills refers to Lazaro Baez complained Echegaray who insisted that Baez was not the only businessman, or the worst case, under investigation for allegedly avoiding taxes.
And I must underline because I don't know if it is intentional or lack of technical knowledge on the matter, but I insist that Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is not an associate of partner of Mr. Baez.
Echegaray also confirmed that the companies that make up the Baez group are under fiscal investigation but strongly denied that the officers involved in those duties had been removed. He emphasized, they started the job and they finished the investigation.
Baez has been linked with the Kirchner family since the late Nestor took the former bank teller to work with him and in a few years became the figure head of the most important public works corporation involved in contracts with the province of Santa Cruz.
The companies under his name have been involved in civil engineering (roads, bridges, highways, etc.) and even in building or reforming many of the Kirchner family properties in Santa Cruz, mainly Rio Gallegos and El Calafate.
Baez was also responsible for building the mausoleum to the memory of Nestor Kirchner, on orders from his wife Cristina, in the Rio Gallegos cemetery. There are also abundant photos and videos of Baez with all Kirchner family members and the Santa Cruz media have insistently suggested that the successful public works contractor was the straw-man of some of Mr Kirchner's companies.
This was partly supported by extensive reporting from investigative Buenos Aires journalist Jorge Lanata, with no court reactions to his claims or against him for allegedly fabricating his reports.