Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez was charged on Friday with defrauding the state as part of her government's handling of the dollar futures market. Federal judge Claudio Bonadio said that a scheme to keep the Argentine peso inflated by selling dollars below market value would not have been possible without Fernandez's approval.
It was “unthinkable that a financial operation of this magnitude” could have been carried out without the explicit approval of “the highest political and economic decision makers of government.”
Bonadio has said this cost the state about US$5.2 billion, allowing buyers to make big profits on the transactions. The sales also led to a sharp drop in Central Bank reserves.
Cristina Fernandez, who has denied any wrongdoing and says she is the victim of political persecution, can appeal the decision.
Former Economy Minister Axel Kicillof, former Central Bank President Alejandro Vanoli and 12 other former officials were also charged, according to the decision published by the official judicial news agency. The crime is punishable by 5-20 years in prison.
Cristina Fernandez was dogged by corruption allegations during her eight years in the presidency. Since leaving office in December, she has also been included in investigations involving allegations of money laundering and possible illegal enrichment
Last month, Mr. Kicillof derided the case as “an absurdity” and “entirely political.” The criminal complaint that led to proceedings was filed by lawmakers in the governing coalition of the new president, Mauricio Macri.
In theory, the Central Bank is independent, although scholars say it has long been used as a political tool of the government.
Supporters of Cristina Fernandez contend Judge Bonadio is part of a wing of the judiciary that conspired to destabilize her government, and they argue that she is being persecuted now that she is out of office. The ex president has branded her rivals in the judiciary as “the judicial party,” in a swipe at its impartiality.
“In this Argentina of revanchism and persecution, the judicial party is behaving like a mob,” lawmaker Eduardo de Pedro and a former chief of staff of Cristina Fernandez. “The objective is the persecution of Cristina”.
In a statement to the judge last month, Mrs. Kirchner claimed that Mr. Macri’s government had co-opted parts of the judiciary to damage her reputation and divert attention from the government’s new economic policies, like drastic cuts in energy and transport subsidies.
“Implementing the misery and structural adjustment program once again requires the use of defamation and slander,” the ex president wrote in the statement.
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Good stuff. The first of what will hopefully be several charges. Oh what a difference 6 months has made in Argentina. The world is starting to respect it again.May 14th, 2016 - 08:52 am 0
If found guilty I hope she gets the highest sentence the judicial system can dish out.
Of course, it's political! La Kretina and the others took advantage of their political situation to allegedly commit this violation.May 14th, 2016 - 09:16 am 0
What Kirchner says should be carefully examined. After all, she is an expert in use of defamation and slander. And it must also be borne in mind that she is also an expert in lying. Let's all remember that she was working to her own economic model. I can't help thinking that Hitler worked to his own model of warfare, despite having limited experience of the subject, and overruling his vastly more knowledgeable generals.May 14th, 2016 - 09:29 am 0
I'm not sure about Kiciloff. The current position would seem to confirm that Marxist concepts of economic management, as previously demonstrated by the Soviet Union, are misguided. He is also, of course, a chancer. Can we imagine how he profited by being raised to the position he held?
I'm with Mr Bloggs to a certain extent. There is a long way to go before argieland can be respected. For instance, Macri had no need to even mention the Falkland Islands or continue with the fictional claim. The same goes for Malcorra. Let us not forget that, at one time, argieland pretended to be a good neighbour to the Falklands for 10 years in pursuit of its objectives. Respect for argieland should await a view of its attitudes and activities over, at least, the next 20 years. Remember the saying about leopards and spots.
I do however concur about the length of sentences to be imposed. It would be right for her to be look forward, with confidence, to dying in prison.