Kirchner corruption trial opens in Argentina




  • In Business
  • 2019-05-21 17:12:58Z
  • By AFP

Buenos Aires (AFP) - Former Argentine president Cristina Kirchner arrived in court Tuesday for the start of a corruption trial that will unfold as the country heads towards general elections in October.

Kirchner, 66, is accused of favoring a businessman friend, Lazaro Baez, for lucrative road construction contracts in Argentina's southern Santa Cruz province. The charges date from her two terms as Argentina's president from 2007-2015.

In a message on Twitter hours before her court appearance, she dismissed the trial as a "smokescreen" intended to distract voters from the country's "dramatic" economic problems.

"It is a new act of persecution with a single objective: to place a former president opposed to this government on the defendants' bench during a full presidential campaign," she wrote.

Kirchner, widely tipped in opinion polls to beat incumbent Mauricio Macri in a presidential run-off, surprised supporters at the weekend by announcing she would instead seek the vice presidency.

Despite a series of corruption scandals, Kirchner has retained strong support, particularly among the poorest Argentines who are bearing the brunt of Macri's economic policies.

Unemployment and social unrest is growing amid high inflation and a weak peso.

That helped make her a favorite in polling ahead of the October 27 presidential election, with some surveys putting her ahead of Macri.

Judge Claudio Bonadio had asked that Kirchner be held in pre-trial detention, but the parliamentary immunity she enjoys as a senator spared her.

The trial in Buenos Aires' Comodoro Py courthouse is expected to take a year. Kirchner's attendance at the opening is compulsory, but she can send a representative to the subsequent weekly hearings.

Twelve other people are accused in the case, including Baez, Julio De Vido, a former minister, and a former government official Jose Lopez.

The trial opening Tuesday is the first in a string of 12 corruption cases Kirchner faces.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Deforestation in Brazil, vote in Argentina endanger EU-Mercosur pact
Deforestation in Brazil, vote in Argentina endanger EU-Mercosur pact

Brazil's backsliding on Amazon conservation under right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro and a likely Peronist return to power in Argentina could delay or even derail ratification of an EU-Mercosur trade agreement that took two decades to negotiate. Deforestation has surged since Bolsonaro's election last year. Two former Brazilian environment ministers, Jose Sarney Filho and Izabella Teixeira, said Bolsonaro has rapidly undermined Brazil's hard-won reputation as a responsible food producer and a leader in world environmental forums.

Argentina Default Risk Rising, Not Inevitable: UBS
Argentina Default Risk Rising, Not Inevitable: UBS's Baweja

Aug.16 -- Bhanu Baweja, deputy head of global macro strategy at UBS, discusses the possibility of a debt default by Argentina on "Bloomberg Markets: European Close."

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Business

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.