An Argentine contractor with close ties to former president Nestor Kirchner, has been accused of involvement in money laundering, capital flight and government corruption, raising questions about the activities of Kirchner and his wife and successor in the presidency, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
The allegations against Lazaro Baez emerged on April 14, when journalist Jorge Lanata showed hidden camera footage in which one of Baez's associates, Leonardo Fariñas, admitted to involvement in a "laundering network" that handled the proceeds from government corruption, while working for Baez's contractor business, reported Clarin.
According to Clarin, Baez's company, Aural Constructions, has received the majority of government contracts for public works in the province of Santa Cruz, where former president Nestor Kirchner served as governor from 1991 to 2003. The newspaper identified Baez as an "intimate friend" of Nestor Kirchner.
Following the airing of the footage, a group of opposition lawmakers brought a complaint to public prosecutor Carlos Gonella urging him to investigate Baez's alleged involvement in money laundering, corruption, and capital flight. On April 17, the same group presented an additional complaint calling for Baez's assets to be frozen, reported Clarin.
InSight Crime Analysis
More details will likely soon emerge in this already complicated case, with anti-Kirchner media such as Clarin eager to investigate the story.
The real question surrounds the degree of involvement of former president Nestor Kirchner, who died in 2010, and current President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. This case may revive the unresolved controversy over the source of the Kirchners' vast personal fortune and what happened to over $600 million in federal funding provided to Santa Cruz while Nestor Kircher was governor.