The Argentine vice president and leader of the left in her country, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has been sentenced to six years in prison and perpetual disqualification from being a public office for a crime of “fraudulent administration to the detriment of the public administration”, as stated in the sentence that was read in part this Tuesday in Buenos Aires, in the presence of the three judges of the court that judged.
The judges, who have sentenced most of the defendants to similar sentences, although they have also acquitted a few, believe that Kirchner and his accomplices 84,835 million pesos, almost 480 million euros, were stolen from the Argentine public herary to the current change. An amount that according to the sentence they will have to return.
It’s about a historic ruling for Argentina and all of Latin America, being the first conviction for corruption for a politician of the relevance of the vice president, who was still active, who served as president for eight years and who, in fact, has in his plans run for president October of next year. An electoral bet that is complicated now that the accusations of corruption have been corroborated in the courts.
Despite the importance of the moment, neither the vice president nor the rest of the accused have been present at the hearing and have followed the verdict by videoconference. In the first quarter of 2023, the grounds of the sentence will be made known and the defendants will be able to appeal, if they so wish, first to the Federal Chamber of Cassation and secondly to the Supreme Court of Justice.
The ‘Road Case’
Last August, the Argentine prosecutor’s office requested a sentence of 12 years in prison and perpetual disqualification for Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, accused of diverting hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers through the concession of public contracts awarded to the businessman. Lazaro Baez, business partner of the Kirchners and family friend. To get an idea of the close relationship between Báez and the Kirchners, it is enough to remember that the businessman’s personal assets grew by 12,000% between the years 2004 and 2015 –Nestor Kirchner He was president of Argentina between 2003 and 2007.
In their brilliant arguments, the Prosecutors Diego Luciani Y Sergio Mola They assured that the vice president herself was the one who led that “illicit association” and was in charge of supervising the bribery scheme linked to highway construction projects in a remote corner of Patagonia. Many of these works were never completed or ended up costing much higher than initially budgeted.
For this reason, prosecutors Luciani and Mola requested 12 years in prison for Cristina Kirchner and her perpetual disqualification for the crimes of illicit association aggravated by her quality as head of the plot while serving as vice president of Argentina. And secondly, she is accused of fraudulent administration aggravated by the damage caused to the State and the personal profit motive. This second crime has been the one that has led to the conviction of the leader of Peronism.
‘Lawfare’, threats to prosecutors and riots
Cristina Fernández’s defense strategy has always been based on considering herself the victim of “a media-judicial firing squad” and on agitating the theory of lawfare, the alleged conspiracy between sectors of politics, journalistic media and the Justice to persecute national and popular leaders. This is the same strategy used by the extreme left in Spain and Latin America every time they are charged in a corruption scheme.
The strategy had a second part. Kirchner urged his supporters to “give up the fight” in the streets and social networks were filled with insults and threats against the judges and prosecutors in the case. In the recent memory of Argentines, the case of the prosecutor appeared Alberto Nismanwho was found dead with a head shot four days after singling out the vice president for covering up Iranian terrorists. In fact, the president Alberto Fernandez used Nisman to threaten prosecutor Luciani during an interview: “He committed suicide, I hope Luciani doesn’t do the same.”
And so, the inevitable happened. At the end of August, a demonstration of radical kirchneristas It ended in a pitched battle in front of the vice president’s home that left more than a dozen police officers injured.
A bizarre assassination attempt
The Highway case took a strange and unexpected turn when on September 1, the Argentine authorities They arrested a man who pointed a gun centimeters from the vice president’s head without firing, despite the fact that the pistol was in perfect condition and had five bullets in its magazine.
The strange reaction of the escorts, who they did not save the vice president inside their vehicle and they did not get to draw their weapons, raised suspicions that the alleged attack was actually a setup.
In the search of the house of the detainee, a Brazilian with little social life, tattoos that link him to Nazi ideology and few skills as a murderer, they found a hundred bullets, objects such as women’s lingerie, dildos, a computer and a mobile phone that the police reset “by mistake”.
Kirchner’s last words
Kirchner has blamed the Prosecutor’s Office for his “assassination attempt”. Last Tuesday he accused the representatives of the Public Ministry of having “invented facts, concealed others, misrepresented and lied” in such a way that this created the conditions for them to attempt against his life.
He also repositioned prosecutors Luciani and Mola in the center of the target: “They dedicated themselves to insulting, offending, insulting and acting not in accordance with the law but rather as an editorial of Clarion either The nation. They deserve to be the star journalists of these media, because their detachment from the forms and substance of the issue was incredible”