Argentine Vice-president and acting president while Cristina Fernandez is off to Brazil, and who was summoned this week for a hearing in a criminal probe for alleged irregularities in the purchase of a vehicle, was granted another seven days, but if he does not turn up Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio will ask Congress for his impeachment.
The judge rescheduled the hearing for July, 23 at 10.30 a.m. and warned the Vice-president of the consequences if he failed to attend: he could even be taken by force to court.
This is the second postponement Boudou has been granted in this probe. This time he argued that he was unable to attend the questioning because he was to be acting president while Cristina Fernández traveled to Brazil to attend the BRICS summit.
The probe started in 2009 after María Taboada de Piñero, an official at the Argentine National Automobile Registry reported the vice-president for altering the engine number and irregularities in the files and signatures of a transfer request for the vehicle.
This probe comes after Boudou’s indictment by Judge Ariel Lijo in the Ciccone corruption probe. The Ciccone case refers to a printing plant, which among other things mints Argentine currency and was under administration.
Apparently Boudou through companies under the names of close friends managed to lift the debt embargoes (when he was head of the tax revenue office and later Economy minister), win government contracts for Ciccone to print money, and all indicates the print now belongs to one of his companies.
The indictment and second criminal probe has triggered demands from the opposition for his resignation or absence of leave, while from the ruling Victory Front some ministers and members of congress have shown a cold shoulder.
One of them is Interior and Transport Minister Florencio Randazzo who is also a 2015 presidential hopeful, and openly stated that the situation of the vice-president “is no good for government”.
“It’s no good having an indicted official (inside the government),” said Randazzo in Córdoba when asked by the media about the situation.
“The issue is being investigated by the judiciary, and we must trust in the judiciary,” Randazzo added.
Asked about the awkward moments during the 9 July Independence Day celebrations — where Boudou bumped into Randazzo, who was looking the other way — the Interior and Transport minister simply said: “My father taught me a handshake is just common courtesy”.
During the July 9 celebrations in Tucumán province, the official broadcast caught the moment when the vice-president (who had just delivered a heated speech against holdouts) approached Randazzo and uttered a few words. “Say what?” Randazzo replied with a quizzical look, as Boudou pulled him closer and whispered into his ear.
Randazzo put on what looked like an evidently fake smile and the indicted Kirchnerite official went on with the post-rally greetings.