Argentina’s Public Prosecutor’s Office has begun the pleadings phase against Argentina’s Vice President Cristina Fernández, who is being prosecuted for the alleged crime of illicit association and fraud against the public administration, in the case known as the Vialidad Case.
The prosecution stated that Fernández and her late husband, former president Néstor Kirchner, created “one of the most extraordinary corruption matrixes” during their terms of office.
Prosecutor Diego Luciani, who is leading the investigation, said that it had been proven that, between 2003 and 2015, “an illicit association of unique characteristics” and in a “pyramidal” form that had “at its apex those who served as heads of state” operated within the State.
For Luciani, the relationship that the Kirchners had with businessman Lázaro Báez, who was arrested in 2016 on corruption charges, and who would have benefited from the construction of 51 public works, in the province of Santa Cruz, through his companies, despite not having experience in road construction, is central. It is accused that these companies were used to defraud the public coffers.
The prosecutor argued that the illicit association used the bids so that almost all of them were won by Báez, with overpricing, being also almost all of them unfulfilled. In addition, he referred to the “capacity of action”, the “perpetuation in time” and “the absence of controls” by the officials, and that during his administration “a real and effective system of institutional corruption” was “created in parallel to the administration’s functions.
On the third day of pleadings, the prosecution involved Máximo Kirchner, son Cristina Fernández and Néstor Kirchner in this case.
On the occasion, prosecutor Luciani showed new messages from the phone of former official José López, to say that “it is more than clear the direct intervention” of Máximo Kirchner, of whom he recalled that until December 2015 he had not held public office, but he was “at the head of the administration of the various businesses of his mother”.
It should be noted that the trial, which began on May 21, 2019, a few days after Cristina Fernández announced her alliance with Alberto Fernández for the October elections of that year that they ended up winning, thus enters its final stretch and it is expected that there will be a verdict this year.
On the fourth day, the defense of Vice-President Fernández formally presented its recusal request against the federal prosecutor Diego Luciani and Judge Rodrigo Giménez Uriburu, one of the court members in charge of the trial of the Vialidad Case. This presentation -minutes before the fourth plea hearing began- impacted the debate’s resumption since the lawyers of other parties announced that they would join this request.
The recusal request was based on the presumption that both were friends with each other and that they were members of a soccer team that played matches at Los Abrojos country house, owned by former President Mauricio Macri, as published by Página/12 newspaper.