Cristina Kirchner oversaw 'corruption matrix' as Argentina president: prosecutor

·2-min read

Argentine Vice President Cristina Kirchner oversaw an "extraordinary corruption matrix" when she was head of state from 2007 to 2015, the prosecution argued Monday in her corruption trial.

Delivering closing arguments, prosecutor Diego Luciani told a court in Buenos Aires that Kirchner and her husband Nestor (2003-2007), who she replaced as president, were right at the top of "a pyramidal illicit association."

"Between 2003 and 2015, an illicit association with unique characteristics operated within the State," said Luciani.

"When Nestor Kirchner took over the presidency of the nation, and later his wife... they installed and maintained within the national and provincial administration of Santa Cruz, one of the most extraordinary corruption matrixes that unfortunately and sadly ever existed in the country."

Kirchner is on trial for the alleged fraudulent awarding of public works contracts in her fiefdom in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, which allegedly benefited businessman Lazaro Baez.

Prosecutors say Baez overcharged for the projects, several of which the prosecution says remain unfinished.

Kirchner, 69, is the target of about a dozen investigations for crimes including bribe-taking, money laundering and obstruction of justice.

Some cases have been thrown out, but at least five are at the trial phase.

She claims political persecution and abuse of a politicized and right-leaning judicial system that her center-leftist political coalition with President Alberto Fernandez has set out to reform.

Fernandez, who was Kirchner's chief of staff when she was president, testified in her defense in February, saying there had been no "arbitrary" spending on her watch.

The prosecution will present its closing arguments over nine sessions programmed for the coming three weeks, after which it will be the turn of the defense.

The trial began in May 2019, has heard more than a hundred witnesses and had to be suspended in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

If convicted, Kirchner will be disqualified from politics.


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