Argentine President Alberto Fernández Monday expressed his sympathy to Vice President Cristina Fernàndez de Kirchner (CFK) after a prosecutor requested that she be jailed for 12 years for alleged acts of corruption committed during her tenure as head of state (2008-2015).
I once again convey my deepest affection and solidarity to the vice-president, Alberto posted on Twitter.
The National Government condemns the judicial and media persecution against Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner which was expressed today, once again, in the final allocution and sentence request sentence in the so-called Causa Vialidad, a Casa Rosada statement read.
As expressed by President Alberto Fernández on several occasions, the judicial persecution endorsed and promoted by different media, the abusive criminalization of the figure of illicit association, the imposition of preventive imprisonment as an anticipated penalty, the accusation based on objective responsibilities and the application of the criminal law of the perpetrator, are all aspects that contradict the dogmatic of criminal law applicable in a Republic founded on the Rule of Law, the communiqué went on.
None of the acts attributed to the former president have been proven and the entire accusation against her refers only to the function she exercised during that period, which regrettably degrades the most elementary principles of modern criminal law, the document adds.
The Government reiterates its adherence to the constitutional principle of innocence and the full validity of the democratic functioning of the Judiciary, the right to defense and equality before the law, and will continue to strive for a judiciary reform that guarantees these values for all, the Executive pointed out while expressing its solidarity with the vice-president in the face of this persecution and search for proscription, which is part of similar attempts carried out against other popular leaders when justice is placed at the service of de facto powers, the Office of the President insisted.
On a more personal note, President Fernández added that Monday was a very ungrateful day for someone who, like me, has grown up in the family of a judge, has been educated in the world of law, and has been teaching Criminal Law for more than three decades.
After nine days of hearings, Prosecutors Sergio Mola and Diego Luciani requested the current Vice President be sentenced to 12 years in jail and disenfranchised for life, which was also sought for all the other defendants in the case, most of them high-ranking officials in the CFK administration.
The accusation is based on the alleged diversion of public works funds in Santa Cruz between 2003 and 2015. Prosecutor Luciani told The 2nd Federal Oral Court (TOF 2) that he considered it proven that CFK was the head of the illicit association guilty of fraudulent administration of public goods.
Also standing trial were businessman Lázaro Báez (12 years imprisonment sought), alongside former Federal Planning Minister Julio De Vido, former Public Works Secretary José Francisco López, and the former National Directorate of Roads (DNV) Chief Nelson Periotti, among others.
The State Attorney's Office also requested fines be imposed in the amount of AR$ 5.321 billion (US$ 39 million at the official exchange rate).
We are facing a crime of extreme gravity. It is the biggest corruption scheme ever known in the country, argued Luciani, who underlined that CFK had disappointed those who had voted for her.
The prosecutor also criticized the fact that the Anti-Corruption Office had ceased to be a plaintiff and the Financial Information Unit mooted for the acquittal of the defendants.
Luciani also said he regretted that the former president had said on record that history had acquitted her when she knows very well that the Judiciary is the institution in charge of prosecuting her. History's leniency was also the argument of Admiral Emilio Massera during the trial of the Military Juntas in the mid-1980s after the return of democratic rule.
The prosecutor was also critical of President Fernández's defense of his running mate and also accused the head of state of undue interference in Judiciary matters.
After a 30-minute intermission, the Court decided to reject CFK's request for an extension of her questioning, which the Vice President's chief legal counselor Carlos Beraldi dubbed a shame, claiming his client had been
denied her right to a proper defense after the prosecution included in its closing arguments factual issues that had not been previously discussed upon.
The trial began in May 2019 and it needs to rule on whether there was a diversion and/or overpricing in 51 public works awarded to contractors that were associates of the Kirchner family during the governments of the late Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007) and Cristina Fernández (2007-2015) in the southern province of Santa Cruz.
The tenders were manifestly and deliberately rigged so that some of Lázaro Báez's companies would be awarded, Luciani maintained. He also held CFK responsible for the exit plan carried out when Kirchnerism lost the 2019 elections.
Regardless of whether or not the works were done in the contractual time and manner, Báez received unjustifiably sidereal sums of money, Luciani said, while Mola, citing the testimony of experts, spoke about more than AR$ 173 million worth of overpricing. Considering that the damage to the State is constituted, it is not less than AR$ 5,321 million, approximately US$ 1 billion. The amount should be updated, he explained.
Hoy es un día muy ingrato para alguien que, como yo, se ha criado en la familia de un juez, se ha educado en el mundo del derecho y enseña Derecho Penal hace más de tres décadas. Vuelvo a transmitir mi más profundo afecto y solidaridad a la vicepresidenta @CFKArgentina. pic.twitter.com/cOMH2iKjnK— Alberto Fernández (@alferdez) August 22, 2022