Argentina’s Federal Police arrived Thursday at the Buenos Aires apartment of senator Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (CFK) to carry out a search warrant ordered by judge Claudio Bonadio relating to the “Bribery Notebooks” case that allegedly details payments for political favors in public works during her presidencies.
The searches were authorized by the Senate Wednesday after a heated debate followed by a vote, which narrowly passed. Legislators had attempted to debate the issue on two previous occasions but failed due to a lack of quorum.
On Tuesday, CFK guaranteed quorum by having the president of the Front for Victory bloc, Marcelo Fuente, present a note in which the former president confirmed she did not oppose the search. In the letter, Fernandez also requested privacy. This request was denied with 47 votes against and 20 in favor.
Despite her vote to authorize the search warrants, CFK used the Senate’s debate to denounce what she calls political persecution against her.
“If something was missing to consecrate the political persecution and the use of the Judicial Power as an instrument for political persecution, it was this case,” Fernandez said while linking her case to a regional strategy against progressive leaders like Dilma Rousseff and Lula Da Silva in Brazil, and Rafael Correa in Ecuador.
The former president and senator also told her colleagues “We are adults. Are you going to tell me, looking into my eyes, that the contracting homeland and the cartelization began on May 25, 2003? Will you really tell me that?”
The properties that will be searched are her home in Buenos Aires, and in Rio Gallegos and El Calafate in the province of Santa Cruz.
Authorities hope to find evidence to corroborate the information presented in the photocopy of the notebooks.
The case emerged after Argentine newspaper La Nacion published an investigation based on photocopies of eight notebooks belonging to Oscar Centeno, the driver of Julio de Vido, federal Planning and Public Investment Minister between 2003 and 2015.
According to La Nacion, the driver kept records of alleged bags of money given by business executives to the Kirchner administration. According to Centeno, he burnt the notebooks where he had allegedly logged names, dates, amounts, and addresses.
CFK has denied the claims of corruption.