Cristina Kirchner Accused Of Money Laundering: Former Argentine President Formally Named By Prosecutor

Former Argentine president, Cristina Kirchner, has been formally accused of money laundering by federal prosecutor Guillermo Marijuan, reported La Nación.

While many Argentines have long suspected Cristina of such crimes, she has been formally accused due to new testimony from Leonardo Fariña, who gave information in search of a reduced sentence. The businessman and accountant was arrested in 2014 after strong evidence was presented that pointed to him having engaged in repeated tax evasion.

Argentina president Cristina Kirchner accused of money laundering
The former president of Argentina Cristina Kirchner has been formally accused of money laundering. (Photo by Giancarlo Giuliani/The Vatican-Pool/Getty Images)

One of the most damning pieces of evidence against Leonardo was a hidden-camera interview in which he described the way that Lázaro Báez, a close associate of the Kirchner government, had transferred $55 million from Argentina to a tax haven in Switzerland. He later claimed that he had giv=en false information on purpose to embarrass journalist Jorge Lanata, who hounded Cristina’s alleged corruption in an investigative television program called The Route of the K Money.

Earlier this week, Báez himself was taken into custody over fears that he would attempt to flee the country as corruption charges stacked up against him. In March, a video was released that showed several associates of Báez, including his son Martín, counting bags full of euros, dollars, and Argentine pesos. In combination with the new testimony from Fariña, opponents of the former Kirchner government have called the fallout over Báez a giant step toward securing a prosecution for Cristina.

Still, Kirchner isn’t without her fierce supporters. Her chosen successor Daniel Scioli only lost in November’s elections by two percentage points, securing 49 percent of the vote. Groups of pro-Cristina activists have made promises to raise hell if she is jailed on corruption charges. Many of them claim that the evidence itself is a media fabrication in order to tarnish her legacy, assuring that she does not return to the Argentine political sphere.

Argentina president Cristina Kirchner accused of money laundering
Argentina’s former president Cristina Kirchner is coming under accusations of money laundering. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Kirchner isn’t the only Argentine president who is suffering corruption accusations this week. On Friday, tens of thousands of protesters called for the resignation of current president Mauricio Macri for his role in an off-shore company brought to light by the Panama Papers. Macri has denied any wrongdoing and will be appearing in front of a judge to formally testify about the case, reported BBC News.

“I know there are some people concerned about these allegations in the Panama Papers that have come out and involve me. I want to say one more time that I am very calm, I have complied with the law, I have told the truth and I have nothing to hide.”

Also named in the Panama Papers was a former personal secretary of both Cristina and her husband Néstor, who died in office while serving as the president of Argentina before his widow. Additionally, Kirchner will be appearing in front of Argentine judges next week to explain her involvement in dollar future contracts traded by the country’s central bank.

Beyond Argentina, the Cristina Kirchner accusation of money laundering also reflects other battles playing out across Latin America between left- and right-wing governments. Currently, the most scrutinized of these cases is taking place in Brazil, where president Dilma Rousseff is facing calls for impeachment in light of revelations that she manipulated the government deficit in order to win re-election, as well as used inflated infrastructure contracts in order to launder money back into her own political party.

As with Cristina Kirchner being accused of money laundering in Argentina, Brazilians are split. Some believe that the corruption charges are true, and other staunch supporters suspect that they are a tool of the right-wing parties to bring down the country’s leftist powers.

[Image by Alexei Danichev/Host Photo Agency via Getty Images]

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