Argentina’s Fernández awaits verdict in VP’s trial

Argentina’s Fernández awaits verdict in VP’s trial
Argentina’s Fernández awaits verdict in VP’s trial

We show you our most important and recent visitors news details Argentina’s Fernández awaits verdict in VP’s trial in the following article

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - BEUNOS AIRES —Judges in Argentina are due to deliver a verdict later on Tuesday in a corruption case involving the country’s vice-president, 69-year-old Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Fernández is accused of aggravated fraud and leading a conspiracy to award public works contracts to a friend, charges she denies.

Prosecutors are seeking a 12-year jail sentence and want her banned from holding public office for life. If found guilty, she can appeal.

Fernández said the charges against her are politically motivated and in her last appearance before the court last week, she compared it to a “firing squad”.

She also accused the prosecutors of lying and slandering her.

The prosecutors accuse Fernández of leading an unlawful partnership during the time when she was president of Argentina from 2007 to 2015.

They allege that she created a kickback scheme which steered lucrative public work contracts towards a friend of hers in return for bribes.

The businessman accused of being the main beneficiary of the scheme is Lázaro Báez, the owner of a construction firm, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison last year for money-laundering.

Fernández and Lázaro Báez are among a total of 13 people on trial whom prosecutors accuse of running “a system of institutional corruption”.

The prosecutors said that they uncovered irregularities in dozens of public work tenders awarded in the southern province of Santa Cruz, Fernández’s political stronghold. Many of the construction projects were never completed.

Prosecutor Diego Luciani described it as “probably the biggest corruption operation the country has known”. He also said the alleged kickback scheme had caused the Argentine state a loss of at least $1billion (£818m).

Fernández has vehemently denied all the allegations against her. The case has proven highly divisive in Argentina with supporters of Fernández taking to the streets outside of her apartment in Buenos Aires to show their backing of the vice-president.

At times, they have faced off with critics of Fernández, who accuse her of being a “thief”.

It was during one of these gatherings on Sept. 1, that Fernández became the target of an assassination attempt.

A 35-year-old man pointed a gun at the vice-president’s head, but the weapon jammed as he aimed it at her. The man has been charged with attempted murder.

Her supporters are planning to gather again ahead of the verdict to show their continued trust in the vice-president.

Even if she were to be found guilty and sentenced to a jail term on Tuesday, Fernández would not be sent to prison immediately.

As an elected senator, she enjoys a degree of immunity which means that she will be able to remain free and continue in her post while she appeals against the verdict all the way to the Supreme Court.

As the appeal process could take years, she is expected to be able to run again for the senate or even for the presidency in the 2023 election. — BBC


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