“Every government (in Argentina) has been corrupt except my own”, 87-year-old former president Carlos Menem said Sunday in a rare interview given to CNN en Español.
“Parliamentary immunity does not protect me and I do not want it to protect me. Let them investigate everything they want to (investigate) but I am not going to hold on to that immunity to avoid a court case. Every government has been corrupt except my own”, he told journalist Jonaton Viale.
Of the many court cases Menem has faced, two have led to sentences though both are pending appeals court decisions.
In 2013 he was found guilty for the aggravated smuggling of weapons to Croatia and Ecuador in the 1990s, for which he received a sentence of seven years in jail. In 2015, he was found guilty for embezzlement, for which he received a four and half year sentence.
Menem has avoided jail time because of his parliamentary immunity and age.
Currently a senator, he told CNN en Español: “I have no sentences against me. There are open investigations and others that have been resolved.”
He defended his decision to become a Senator. “I was the president, governor, the only thing left was senator. I cannot live without politics”, he said.
ON CFK, MACRI
Menem claimed Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s presidency “caused us a lot of damage”.
“There was no advancement for any sector of the Argentine community. On the contrary, I think we went backward. And that caused us a lot of damage”.
He alleged that someone from “within that government” ordered the murder of Alberto Nisman in 2015.
He was also critical of President Mauricio Macri’s two-year-old administration.
“Based on what one sees, reads and studies, we’re evidently not in a very good situation. We have serious problems that we haven’t yet solved. For example, inflation”, he said.