BUENOS AIRES – Lawyers for former President Cristina Fernandez filed a motion Monday urging the Argentine federal courts to dismiss claims of wrongdoing in the awarding of government contracts during her 2007-2015 tenure.
The allegations represent “a formidable maneuver of political persecution,” Fernandez said after a hearing before federal Judge Julian Ercolini.
The magistrate subpoenaed the former head of state to testify as a potential defendant in a case centered on businessman Lazaro Baez, a long-time associate of Fernandez’s late husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner.
Prosecutors say they are trying to determine whether Baez, Kirchner, Fernandez, and members of their respective administrations conspired to rig the awarding of public works projects.
Fernandez, who declined to answer questions at Monday’s hearing, said afterward that the accusations amount to a “terrible absurdity.”
The prosecution alleges there was a plan to benefit Baez through the award of public works contracts in Kirchner’s native southern province of Santa Cruz.
Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse, Fernandez cited the results of an audit that the $107 million spent on public works during the presidencies of her husband and herself was distributed among Argentina’s provinces.
“I want them to investigate, but I want them to investigate all public works,” Fernandez said, pointing out that a cousin of current President Mauricio Macri was the third-largest recipient of government contracts during her administration, while Baez was No. 38 on the list.
Amid the presence of police in riot gear, a large number of Fernandez supporters came to the court house to show solidarity with the former president.