The problems multiply for the Argentine vice president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. While the political crisis within the governing coalition worsens more and more, the former president received a harsh judicial setback on Tuesday that derails her attempt to stop the only ongoing trial against her for alleged corruption.
The Supreme Court rejected all the claims of annulment that it had presented in the “Roadway” case, which investigates irregularities in public works in the southern province of Santa Cruz, the cradle of Kirchnerism.
In a unanimous ruling, the four magistrates considered that the institutional seriousness to which the vice president appealed to request the intervention of the Supreme Court has not been proven, nor did they find reasons to annul the trial that began in May.
For this reason, Fernández de Kirchner will once again sit on the bench of the accused on July 11, when the arguments stage will begin.
The Prosecutor’s Office could request a sentence of between five and 16 years in prison for the vice president, according to the crimes for which she is judged: leading an illicit association and defrauding the State. She is accused of having favored the businessman Lázaro Báez in the granting of 51 public works.
Fernández de Kirchner has reason to be concerned. Last year, Báez was sentenced to 12 years in prison after being found guilty of laundering assets for 60 million dollars between 2010 and 2013, when his name was among the government contractors preferred by Kirchnerism. In just a few years, Báez went from being a bank teller to a millionaire.
The former Minister of Federal Planning Julio De Vido and the former Secretary of Public Works José López, among others, are also accused in the same trial. Both are in jail for other reasons.
President Alberto Fernández and the head of the Chamber of Deputies, Sergio Massa, were summoned to testify as witnesses in their capacity as former chiefs of staff, but both denied the existence of irregularities.
If the planned schedule is maintained, the judges are expected to deliver their verdict before the end of the year. Whatever it is, it will influence the race towards the 2023 presidential elections. The silence of the former president regarding the ruling contrasts with the statements in favor made by opposition figures.
The trial in the Vialidad case is the only one that has prospered against Fernández de Kirchner since Peronism returned to power at the end of 2019. In these years, the vice president has seen how the judges closed important open cases against her, such as that of Hotesur and Los Sauces, in which she was accused of illicit association and money laundering; that of the future dollar and that of the memorandum signed with Iran.
However, it was not the only adverse development for her on the judicial front. The Federal Oral Court 7 also reactivated this Tuesday the case known as “the notebooks of corruption”, in which Fernández de Kirchner is suspected of leading an illicit association dedicated to collecting bribes from large businessmen linked to the construction of public works .
After receiving the extraordinary funds that it requested to investigate this macro-case, in which there are fifty defendants, the court decided to notify the parties that in the next ten days they have to present the evidence that they are going to use in the debate, which has not yet It has a start date.
The case broke out in April 2018 following the discovery of eight notebooks belonging to Oscar Centeno, Julio de Vido’s driver. Between 2003 and 2015, Centeno noted in them the trips he made in his car with bags loaded with dollars received, according to his testimony, from the hands of large businessmen with contracts with the Argentine State.
The cause has been almost stopped for three years, but the request made this Tuesday is the first sign that it begins to be reactivated.
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