Argentina's vice-president Amado Boudou is expected to stand trial within the next two weeks, for his involvement in the transfer of the former Ciccone mint, the company that prints Argentina's peso bills. The decision by Federal Judge Ariel Lijo follows on the Federal Cassation Court confirming the indictment Boudou on charges of bribery and negotiations incompatible with public office (conflict of interests).
On Wednesday the Cassation Court confirmed the indictment issued by Lijo on 27 June 2014 against Boudou, his business associate and friend José María Núñez Carmona and Nicolás Tadeo Ciccone, the former owner of the mint company. The resolution had also been backed by the Federal Criminal Appeals Court on February 19.
However since this is a high voltage political year in Argentina, the case may possibly be delayed until after President Cristina Fernández leaves office next December.
The trial request will have to be backed by federal prosecutor Jorge Di Lello, who charged the vice-president with bribery earlier last year. Boudou and the other defendants will probably file requests to avoid the public trial, which will have to be reviewed by the Appeals Court and the Cassation Court.
Last year, the Appeals Court ordered Judge Lijo to follow the money trail in order to explain which funds were used to purchase Ciccone, a long-term claim by Boudou. The company was bought in 2010 by lawyer Alejandro Vandenbroele, who was also indicted and, according to the magistrate, operated as Boudou’s front man.
The tribunal also recommended Lijo question AFIP tax bureau head Ricardo Echegaray. The AFIP agency helped the company lift its bankruptcy so that it could start to operate again.
However Boudou is likely to stand another trial before. Federal Judge Claudio Bonadío has asked the Federal Oral Court No. 1 to put Boudou on the dock for allegedly counterfeiting the papers of a Honda car he owned. The request was made in December last year.
Lijo and Di Lello are also investigating Boudou for alleged embezzlement. The judge is said to be waiting the analysis that is being carried out by Supreme Court accountants.
Lijo last year indicted Boudou for the role he played in the transfer of the Ciccone company in 2010, while he was Cristina Fernández Economy minister. The decision came after weeks of dispute with Boudou, who accused Lijo of working hand-in-hand with the opposition media.
On 19 October 2010, the AFIP tax bureau gave the green light to lifting Ciccone’s bankruptcy and also agreed on a payment plan to allow the company to print again. In 2012, the Argentine congress approved Ciccone mint company’s nationalization, which according to Judge Lijo, was a move aimed at hiding the evidence of Boudou’s alleged crime.