BUENOS AIRES – An Argentine federal judge ordered on Tuesday that former President Cristina Fernandez face trial on money-laundering charges.
Fernandez and her children led a conspiracy to disguise the origin of illicit funds, Judge Claudio Bonadio said.
He barred all the defendants, including several businessmen, from leaving the country and embargoed 130 million pesos ($8.44 million) in assets belonging to the former head of state, who governed Argentina from 2007-2015.
The case centers on Los Sauces, a property firm founded by Fernandez and late husband – and predecessor – Nestor Kirchner.
In April 2016, federal congresswoman Margarita Stolbizer brought a criminal complaint against Fernandez, son Maximo Kirchner, and daughter Florencia Kirchner.
Stolbizer claimed Los Sauces was used to launder kickbacks from construction firms that benefited from lucrative public works contracts during Nestor Kirchner’s 2003-2007 tenure and the two presidential terms of Fernandez.
Fernandez’s niece Romina Mercado, who became company president in 2015, is also a defendant in the case.
Following a court appearance last month, Fernandez denied any wrongdoing and complained that she was the victim of an unprecedented “judicial and media persecution.”
The former president is also under investigation in connection with central-bank currency operations and purported irregularities in the granting of government contracts.