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News > Latin America

Argentina's de Kirchner Wants Corruption Trial to be Public

  • Former Argentine president and Senator Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner speaks in Buenos Aires, December 2017.

    Former Argentine president and Senator Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner speaks in Buenos Aires, December 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 January 2018

Argentine senator and former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, charged with money laundering and corruption, insists the trial is a right-wing witch-hunt.

Argentine senator and former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has called for her forthcoming corruption trial to be conducted in public.

Argentina's Cristina Fernandez in Court Over Graft Probe

Fernandez is charged with money laundering and making members of her former administration illicitly channel public works projects to a construction company owned by a family friend. She claims the charges are part of a witch-hunt against her by the ruling right-wing.

"For here on out I will present all the evidence regarding this arbitrary and biased case brought against me, which goes against my rights," she told Julian Ercolini, the federal judge presiding over her case.

In a push for transparency, de Kirchner now says she wants Ercolini to make her hearings open to the public.

Among the charges, de Kirchner is accused of funneling 11 percent of public works funds to the the department of Santa Cruz and a construction business belonging to family friend Lazaro Baez, without the proper congressional approval.

Ercolini has condemned the amount of money involved as excessive: Baez became the largest public works contractor in Santa Cruz while Fernandez was president.

The former president and her children are also being accused of receiving kickbacks from Baez's hotel business. The case against Baez, who is in pretrial detention, is also being presided over by Ercolini.

The federal judge was appointed in 2004 by de Kirchner's husband and former president Nestor Kirchner, who held the reigns of power between 2003 and 2007.

Eighteen members of de Kirchner's administration, among them the former minister of planning and secretary of public works, are also charged with illegally channeling public funds.

The Argentine Anti-Corruption Agency and the Unity of Financial Information both support her push to bring her case to public trial.

De Kirchner's lawyer, Carlos Beraldi, closed the court hearing by saying that the defense considers the accusations "arbitrary" and "vicious."

Formal charges were brought against de Kirchner in November, to which she said: "All of this makes no sense... I don't plan to be a part of this fiction of judges who read you your rights but don't apply them. The same can be said of the general attorney's office. There is no rule of law in Argentina."

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