An Argentine appeals court Thursday upheld the September decision by judge Claudio Bonadio whereby Former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (CFK) must stand trial and be preemptively imprisoned throughout the proceedings for having allegedly received millionaire bribes from businessmen in the Kirchnerist governments (2003-2015).
Nevertheless, Fernández is a Senator and is entitled to parliamentary immunity and stripping her off it is up the Senate, something not likely to happen. Therefore she can be tried, but not arrested.
The Buenos Aires Federal Court of Appeals also confirmed charges against former Federal Planning Minister Julio De Vido, who is already under arrest.
Cristina is believed to have been the leader of the bribe-taking organisation of which De Vido was a member, in the case known as the notebooks of corruption.
Since the scandal broke out in early August, dozens of prominent businessmen and former employees have been prosecuted - some of them having even testified as regretful witnesses, admitting to the existence of a ring which went all the way up to CFK and her late husband Néstor Kirchner, also a president between 2003 and 2007.
Among the businessmen under investigation is Angelo Calcaterra, a cousin of current president Mauricio Macri, whose father Franco and brother Gianfranco are also on the list.
The case was built around notes, pictures and videos taken for more than a decade by De Vido's former driver Oscar Centeno, who has allegedly described before the judge how he carried bags with cash to be distributed to the officials involved, although Bonadio has reportedly collected enough evidence to conclude that, regardless of the number of those officials, the ultimate link in the chain were always Néstor Kirchner or his wife, together with De Vido.
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A government incapable -- or rather unwilling -- to show any positive economic news results after three years at the helm must at all prices keep the public focused on something else, i.e., the battered K corruption topic.Dec 23rd, 2018 - 09:22 am 0
That way, a sector of the Argentine society may conclude that the Macri government, while transferring its key sovereign economic decisions to the IMF and its recessive recipes, has, at least, fought corruption.
But wait a minute. Did I say K corruption?
What about the well-known CorreoGate affair that involves an attempt to erase a 70 billion ARS ($1.8 billion USD) debt owed by the Macri group to the government now presided by Mauricio Macri? (This matter is before the courts).
What about the aportantes truchos affair, by which thousands of persons in welfare rolls were registered as contributors to the Cambiemos election in 2015 -- persons who flatly denied having ever contributed a single dime? (The matter is before the courts).
It is entirely possible that corruption existed under the Kirchners, and serious judicial investigations are welcome. However, attempts to somehow link CFK to stealing public money by inferring that she must've known and she must've been the head of an illegal association is a stretch and an attempt to discredit the opposition member with the highest vote intentions for 2019.
Lawfare at its best.
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