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  HOME | Argentina

Argentina Prosecutor Seeks Money-Laundering Probe of Ex-President Fernandez

BUENOS AIRES – A federal prosecutor has called for an investigation into former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez and her ex-planning minister, Julio de Vido, for their alleged role in a money-laundering scheme, local media reported Saturday.

Guillermo Marijuan’s decision comes after federal Judge Sebastian Casanello issued a gag order in the case Friday after hearing testimony for more than 11 hours from businessman Leonardo Fariña, who has been jailed for tax evasion.

This week, Argentine authorities arrested Lazaro Baez, a businessman close to Fernandez’s late husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner, for his alleged role in the scheme.

Baez was awarded several public-works contracts in the southern Argentine province of Santa Cruz, where Kirchner, who died in 2010, served as governor before being elected president in 2003.

The businessman, who was arrested on Tuesday shortly after landing in Buenos Aires on a private plane that had departed from Santa Cruz province, refused to answer the judge’s questions in court on Wednesday, instead giving his version of the events under investigation in a written statement.

The case dates back to 2013, when Federico Elaskar, the owner of the SGI financial firm, said on a TV program that he had sent millions of dollars abroad for Baez, using offshore companies in Panama, although he later retracted his statement when questioned by prosecutors.

The case returned to the spotlight recently when videos that dated back to 2012 and which showed several people counting millions of dollars at an SGI office in Buenos Aires were aired on television.

Marijuan’s decision to call for an investigation into the former president comes just four days before Fernandez is due to testify in court in a separate case involving alleged irregularities in the sale of dollar future contracts at below-market rates by the central bank before she left office in December.

 

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