HomeNewsBriefArgentina Ex-President Faces Mounting Corruption Charges
BRIEF

Argentina Ex-President Faces Mounting Corruption Charges

ARGENTINA / 5 APR 2017 BY TRISTAN CLAVEL EN

The former president of Argentina was indicted on charges of leading a money laundering scheme while in office, yet another legal blow to the ex-leader who is facing mounting corruption charges and allegations.

Former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (2007-2015) was officially indicted on April 4 by Argentine judge Claudio Bonadio for allegedly leading a money laundering ring, reported Clarín.

Charges were also formally brought against the ex-president’s two children, Maximo and Florencia, as well as businessmen Cristóbal López and Lázaro Báez, the latter of whom is currently incarcerated and awaiting trial for a separate public funds embezzlement case.

A total of 21 individuals have been accused in the money laundering case, including the sons of Báez.

According to authorities, the Kirchner family real estate company, “Los Sauces,” is at the heart of the laundering of bribes received by the former president in exchange for awarding public contracts while in office. Los Sauces was set up in 2006 by Cristina Kirchner, her son and her late husband and former President Néstor Kirchner.

In exchange for being awarding public contracts, the businessmen allegedly rented properties owned by the Kirchner real estate company as a means of paying bribes. According to a separate Clarín article, López and his associate Fabían De Sousa rented 493 Kirchner properties starting in 2009, which they justified by arguing that it was more practical and cheaper than other rental contracts.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Argentina

In addition to finding sufficient evidence for indicting the former president, Bonadio also froze 130 million pesos (roughly $8.5 million) from Kirchner’s accounts. The same amount was also frozen from her son Maximo’s account as well as Báez’s. The former president’s daughter, her niece, López and his associate De Sousa each also had 100 million pesos (approximately $6.5 million) frozen. All individuals involved in the case are prohibited from leaving the country.

On Twitter, Kirchner denied being guilty of the charges, arguing that there is no evidence of wrongdoing and describing the indictment as a “persecution.”

The former head of state also denounced Bonadio’s decision to recuse himself from the case. The judge asked that the legal procedure be annexed to that of another corruption case, referred to as the “K Money Route” (Ruta del Dinero K), which also involves Kirchner and Báez and which is being handled by Judge Julián Ercolini.

InSight Crime Analysis

Cristina Kirchner has not yet been convicted of any crime. But the numerous corruption cases to which the former president has been linked suggest the existence of a widespread and systematic siphoning of public funds during her term.

The former president is implicated in three corruption cases involving the awarding of public contracts, and she has been indicted in two of those. But the Los Sauces investigation marks the first time that Kirchner is accused of actually heading a criminal scheme.

Kirchner has previously been indicted for corruption charges in the vast “K Money Route” case previously mentioned, revolving around public works contracts awarded to Báez in the Santa Cruz province. Kirchner is accused of criminal association in that scheme, which reportedly involved $650 million in contracts.

SEE ALSO: Elites and Organized Crime

The scandal has mainly focused on a dozen individuals, including the former president and various ministers as well as business tycoons such as Báez and López, who are now being referred to as the “K businessmen” (“empresarios K”). But the actual number of individuals involved could be much greater, as local officials, businessmen and their relatives are increasingly being pulled into the expanding investigations.

Although not indicted, Kirchner is also under investigation in yet another corruption case involving Báez and López renting property owned by the former president’s family. According to La Nación, this case is closely linked to the Los Sauces one.

In addition, Kirchner faces a third indictment for allegedly attempting to manipulate the exchange rate between the Argentine peso and the US dollar via the central bank. Moreover, the former president has also been accused of covering up the possible involvement of Iran in a 1994 terrorist bombing in Buenos Aires, a case which has been a source of intense controversy over the past two decades.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America's largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 5 AUG 2014

In a move that was long expected, the Supreme Court in Guatemala has officially removed the former head of a…

ELITES AND CRIME / 24 MAR 2017

The murder of a Chihuahua-based correspondent marks the third killing of a journalist in Mexico this month, a wave of…

ELITES AND CRIME / 27 FEB 2017

Edgar Gutiérrez spoke with elPeriódico about how the relationship between organized crime and political power has evolved in Guatemala. Gutiérrez,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…