LATIN-AMERICA

Corruption notebooks point at former presidents Kirchner

Buenos Aires – Former presidents Néstor and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner have been accused of bribery last Friday.  The revelation of a corruption notebook brought to light supposed secretive cash deliveries made by former presidents Kirchner during their office years. The person who kept the notebook and revealed the information is Oscar Centeno, a driver from a public works official.

A corruption network was discovered last Friday, as a corruption notebook was unveiled. In the notebook there are the names of sixteen people, among them, former president Cristina Kirchner and her late husband, the also former president Néstor Kirchner. The rest of the impeached are entrepreneurs and former Argentine officials.

The Argentine justice are trying to find out whether late former president Néstor Kirchner and his wife Cristina Fernández de Kirchner led a criminal organization, which between 2003 and 2015 accepted money in exchange for the concession of public contracts.

Detailed information was delivered by Oscar Centeno, the author of the notebook. In the document, Centeno reported every movement related with the money briefcases made by the accused. Information such as the amount of cash paid, the briefcases’ weight, and specific locations where the pay-offs were delivered became crucial for the investigation.

According to the news outlet El Universal, Centeno worked for the planning ministry. During ten years, the driver dedicated time to record the information of the fraud that now represents around $US 160 million. Centeno spoke about how he used to bring Roberto Baratta, the former planning minister, to different places carrying amounts of bags filled with $US cash. Centeno’s declarations came out in a testimony to the judge in charge of the case, Judge Claudio Bonadio.

The driver also declared that the evidence he had been collecting for so long doesn’t exist anymore. Centeno said he burnt the notebooks and that no one but him is witness of the crimes. “I burnt them in the barbecue grill at my house’s backyard” Centeno told judge Bonadio on Friday night. Centeno’s allegations are part of his collaboration in a witness protection program. After declarations, Centeno was put out of jail.

Judge Bonadio has decreed a search warrant for former president Kirchner’s residences in Buenos Aires, El Calafate and Río Gallegos, as declarations describe them as main delivery locations of the briefcases. The former president hasn’t said a word yet, but representatives of her political landscape declared it’s  President Macri’s attempt to injure her.

Kirchner has been called to appear before the judge on August 13. Though the former president and senator remain immune of arrest, she could be put on trial if enough evidence is collected reported the outlet Agence France-Presse.

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