Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (CFK) has been found guilty of corruption for fraudulent administration and sentenced to six years in jail plus a lifetime disenfranchisement, the Buenos Aires Federal Oral Court #2 announced Tuesday.
Other charges such as illicit association filed against her in the National Highway Directorate (DNV) case were dismissed.
Also sentenced to six years in prison were businessman Lázaro Báez, whose companies benefitted from the road-building contracts allegedly overpriced and mismanaged, and former official José López.
The country was paralyzed and the announcement was celebrated almost as loud as a goal scored by the Argentine national football team in some parts of the Argentine capital.
The Oral Court issuing Tuesday's ruling also announced that the grounds and rationales behind such a decision are to be made public in March of 2023. Only then can an appeal be filed.
Both the defendants and the prosecution are to seek a ruling from a higher court. CFK and those also condemned because they want to be fully acquitted. And the prosecution because it would seek the ruling on the illicit association charges reviewed.
After Tuesday's readout, CFK explained in a video streaming that Article 173 of the Penal Code stated that fraudulent administration can only be committed by anyone legally entrusted with the management of something and that the President is in no way in charge of administering any of the things allegedly performed in a wrongful manner.
She also underlined that since the 1994 Constitutional reform the person in charge of such administrative functions is the Cabinet Chief, a position held back then by current President Alberto Fernández and Economy Minister Sergio Massa among others.
The sentence is not one by the laws of the Constitution, CFK said. This sentence stems from something known as lawfare or the Judiciary Party, she argued. But she admitted she had been too naïve when making those assessments and that it was in fact a parallel state, which was proven, according to CFK, by episodes such as the Oct. 17 meeting of several judges at the estate of British tycoon Joe Lewis in Patagonia with Clarín managers and opposition PRO politicians. Then CFK described how these magistrates were linked to the DNV case and how the so-called Judiciary Family could not hide the blood ties between judges and prosecutors. That is the system we have today, CFK pointed out.
Then she described Buenos Aires City Security Minister Marcelo D'Alessando's involvement in the aftermath of the Sept. 1 assassination attempt against her. The former head of state also outlined the links between judges and the Clarín media holding. D'Alessandro was among the attendees at Lewis' property.
Since Tuesday's ruling can be appealed, CFK still has the right to be presumed innocent until her conviction cannot be reversed and will therefore remain in office and may run in next year's elections.
(MercoPress - Buenos Aires Bureau)