October 1, 2023

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Argentine judge acquits Cristina Fernandez in money laundering case

The former president is still being investigated for other reasons.

Argentine Vice President and former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was impeached by Argentina’s judiciary on Monday.

Federal judge Sebastian Casanello made the decision to end the process against the Peronist leader, ruling in that sense days earlier after complaints from the Financial Information Division and the federal Public Revenue Administration agreed to prosecute for lack of evidence.

With this action – and taking into account that the prosecutor in the case and the complaining state agency did not appeal – the charge was closed. However, the former president continues to be tried in other legal cases for various crimes.

Fernández de Kirchner was sentenced in December to six years in prison and permanently disqualified from holding public office for defrauding the government during his tenure (2007-2105).

The ruling has been appealed by the Vice President and its decision will remain in the hands of the Supreme Court for an unknown period.

Judge Casanello said, “The task of the judge is limited to examining the reasonable and legal requirements – together with other state bodies – in the face of the request of the accuser and the holder of the criminal action. The request, in the present case, they are satisfied.

In turn, it held that it cannot go beyond the prosecution.

Prosecutor Guillermo Marijuan withdrew his charges against the Vice President days ago after receiving a report from the Judicial Assistance Directorate for Complex Crimes and Organized Crime.

Based on this information – defined by the magistrate in his decision – the prosecutor was able to secure a meeting at the presidential residence at the end of 2010, where the businessman Lázaro Baez, “when questioned by the then president, denied and concealed the illegal deportation. The capital he was doing by then”.

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Baez, a construction industry vice president and businessman, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2021 for embezzling millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains.

The southern state of Santa Cruz, where the businessman had his operations and where Fernandez de Kirchner still owns property, was the scene of various raids widely publicized by the media amid the investigation.

The trial of the former president was part of a case in which Bass was the main defendant. At first he was not among those prosecuted, but in 2016 he was charged by prosecutors with marijuana based on a contrite statement from a financier.

However, the prosecutor pointed out in late May that he did not have enough evidence to support the preliminary charge and that multiple connections between the former president and Peace did not make him responsible for money laundering.

Pease was sentenced to six years in prison in the same trial in which the vice president was accused of improperly benefiting from 51 public works awards in national funds in Santa Cruz.

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