Former vice-president Amado Boudou was seen gleefully exiting the Comodoro Py courthouse on Monday, two months after he was first hauled away to jail on a preventive detention order.
Boudou was required to formally present himself before the courts after being granted house arrest last Friday. The disgraced former official faces a number of charges in several parallel investigations into his activities as former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s Economy minister and vice-president.
Boudou’s lawyer, Eduardo Durañona, had last week secured house arrest in relation to charges against his client of money laundering and illegal enrichment. But for the measure to take effect he also had to lodge a request with a separate court investigating the alleged falsification of receipts that took place under Boudou during his time as Economy minister.
Durañona told Radio 10 on Monday that he had applied basic “legal tools” to secure his client’s release and said that presiding judge Ariel Lijo had confirmed to him that “the rules have changed” in Comodoro Py, an indication that Boudou’s freedom might be short lived.
Boudou served as economy minister from 2009-2011, then as vice-president from 2011 until Fernández de Kirchner left office in December 2015.
One of the most graphic incarnations of ambition from the heydays of the so-called kirchnerismo movement, he was taken into custody in early November after the courts ordered his arrest for a case dating back to 2012.
At the time, Judge Lijo concluded that there was sufficient proof that Boudou had “profited in an unjustified manner” and that the former vice-president could interfere with the investigation into his alleged wrongdoing.
The case file stated that there were “large inconsistencies” in his tax returns. Boudou is accused of racketeering and is mentioned among several key witnesses as the head of an illicit association that laundered 4,238,900 pesos and US$995,000 from 2009, when he became economy minister, to 2015, when he left the office of the Vice-Presidency.
The judge cited tax return anomalies, the 2010 purchase of a Buenos Aires apartment by his former girlfriend, and the unclear source of tens of thousands of dollars in income.
The former VP, famous for riding Harley Davidson motorcycles and playing electric guitar on stage during electoral campaigns, has at least four other serious accusations against him.
The most serious is the fraudulent acquisition of Ciccone Calcografica, the only facility in Argentina with the capacity to print legal tender, in 2012.
Involved in most cases is Alejandro Vandenbroele, who has been described by ex-wife Laura Muñoz as Boudou’s "frontman". Other cases include using insider information to buy sovereign debt ahead of Argentina’s 2010 debt exchange, handouts related to Formosa Province’s 2009 debt restructuring, and the acquisition of 19 luxury cars by the Economy Ministry under his tenure.
BOUDOU, A SYMBOL
Boudou’s meteoric rise from middle-class beginnings in Mar del Plata began to materialise as he entered the National Social Security Administration (ANSES) in 1998. A decade later, he directed the ANSES and eliminated the AFJP private pension system. In 2009, he was sworn in as economy minister and in 2011 he became CFK’s VP.
His arrest in November came less than 24 hours after Fernández de Kirchner herself had lost a legal appeal against corruption charges, with a high court saying the prosecution’s case against her can go ahead.
The federal appeals court upheld a previous ruling that the 64-year-old former head of state must answer charges of criminal association and fraud that stem from her 2007-2015 term in office.