Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Argentina’s former president, could be jailed for alleged corruption charges
BUENOS AIRES – Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Argentina’s former president and current vice president, was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Monday by an Argentine federal prosecutor on corruption charges related to public works.
Prosecutor Diego Luciani accused Fernandez de Kirchner, a still-powerful voice for the ruling Peronist party’s left wing, of defrauding the state and participating in a scheme to divert public funds while president between 2007 and 2015.
According to local media, the sentence will be known in months, though Fernandez de Kirchner may appeal to higher courts, which could take years to reach a final verdict.
Fernandez de Kirchner, who testified in court in 2019, said on Twitter that she was facing a “media-judicial firing squad,” not a constitutional court.
(Translation: “If something was missing to confirm that I am not before a court of the Constitution but before a media-judicial firing squad, it is to prevent me from exercising the right of defence before questions… that never appeared in the prosecutor’s indictment that I attended for five days in May 2019.)
The former president also stated that she was not given the opportunity to testify on new elements of the case and that she would present her defence on social media on Tuesday.
The investigation is looking into whether she and other officials in her administration favoured firms owned by businessman Lazaro Baez in bidding processes for dozens of public works projects in Patagonia’s southern region, many of which were overpriced or never completed.
Many experts believe that the allegedly diverted capital would have returned to the Kirchner family via their businesses.
Argentina’s public prosecutor, Diego Luciani, has requested that the Vice President be sentenced to 12 years in prison and barred from holding public office for the rest of her life.
“This is probably the biggest corruption manoeuvre that has ever been known in the country,” Mr Luciani said in arguing for the sentence.
Even if convicted, she would not go to jail because she has parliamentary immunity as an elected senator.
That immunity would be revoked if she lost her Senate seat or if the Supreme Court upheld a guilty verdict.