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argentina CORRUPTION

Fernández de Kirchner calls on court to postpone embezzlement trial

The case is emblematic because it was the first to provide sufficient evidence to charge the former president for corruption.

Tuesday 5 February, 2019
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Foto:Noticias Argentinas

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Senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's legal team on Monday called for an embezzlement trial against her to be postponed.

The trial in question, one of many the Senator faces, is scheduled to begin on February 26. It will address alleged acts of corruption surrounding public works projects in her home province of Santa Cruz.

Her defence called on the presiding Federal Criminal Tribunal (TOF) 2 to postpone the trial on the grounds that corresponding investigation has not yet been completed.

Sources from TOF 2 told Perfil that the court will seek the opinion of the Supreme Court's investigations unit as to whether the investigation is close to completion. In the event it is, the trial will begin as scheduled, they said.

'ROAD WORKS'

The case, known as the 'Road Works' case, will put Fernández de Kirchner on the dock alongside Lázaro Báez, the alleged frontman of the Kirchner family. Among the total 16 defendants are the jailed former Planning Minister Julio de Vido and his former secretary for Public Works José López.

The trial is expected to last eight months. However, most observers believe it will last longer and run throughout the October 2019 election campaign, despite a schedule of two hearing per week.

The scandal was investigated by Judge Julián Ercolini and prosecutors Gerardo Pollicita and Ignacio Mahique, following an initial complaint about alleged irregularities in the granting of tenders for public works projects in Santa Cruz province to Báez's Grupo Austral firm.

The case is emblematic not only for being the first to put Fernández de Kirchner in the dock but also because it was the first to provide enough evidence to charge the Senator for corruption.

The judges who will decide hers and her codefendants' fate are Jorge Tassara, Jorge Gorini and Rodrigo Giménez Uriburu. The trial prosecutor is Diego Luciani.

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