Buenos Aires Times

argentina ALLEGED GRAFT RING

CFK to testify in 'notebook' graft case; court delves into phone, computer records

The court investigating the alleged graft ring has a full schedule of activities planned for this week, including testimonies, hearings into prison release requests, and forensic testing that could be key to expanding the pool of evidence tied to the revelations of graft.

Sunday 12 August, 2018
Senator-elect Cristina Fernández de Kirchner spoke at a rally in Tucumán on Sunday November 20, 2017, where she acussed the Macri administration of harming workers' rights.
Senator-elect Cristina Fernández de Kirchner spoke at a rally in Tucumán on Sunday November 20, 2017, where she acussed the Macri administration of harming workers' rights. Foto:Télam

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If one thing is certain about the bribery investigation otherwise known as the "notebooks" scandal, it is that the direction or planning of the investigation is difficult.

The court investigating the alleged graft ring has a full schedule of activities planned for this week, including testimonies, hearings into prison release requests, and forensic testing that could be key to expanding the pool of evidence tied to the revelations of graft stemming from the notebooks of former Planning Ministry driver Oscar Centeno.

In the Comodoro Py courthouse, investigators will begin opening and analysing mobile phones and computers belonging to former government officials, businessmen and companies tied to the case. This material was seized in the over 40 court-ordered police raids that were carried out since the scandal broke.

The investigative team will be led by a special division of the Federal Police, while the seized devices will be opened in court with court personnel acting as witnesses. 

In the first raid alone, police seized 35 mobile phones, seven computers, 20 notebooks, tree tablets, 13 pen drives, four iPads, two schedules and nine external hard drives. These devices will arrive to Comodoro Py in stages from a range of storage locations.

TESTIMONIES

Meanwhile, the court will continue processing testimonies at an accelerated speed.

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will today give testimony, as will another three men who have already arrested and detained: former secretary to disgraced former Planning Minister Julio De Vido, José María Olazagasti; and the businessmen Juan Carlos Lascurain and Raúl Vertúa.

Judge Bonadio faces a recusal request lodged by former AFI spy chief Oscar Parrilli, who also faces charges in the case. Parrilli argues that Bonadio has expressed "manifest enmity" toward the accused. However, few see the move against the judge as having any chances of success.

INQUIRIES, HEARINGS

On Tuesday, businessman Aldo Roggio will face questioning. The head of one of Argentina's biggest companies, Roggio secured a plea bargain on Friday with prosecutor Carlos Stornelli. 

Meanwhile, a prison release hearing is scheduled for Wednesday at the Federal Appeals Court, whose tribunal will hear arguments in favour of the release of several prisoners, which judge Bonadio rejected 11 days ago.

Defence lawyers will have to convince judges Martín Irurzun and Leopoldo Bruglia. The third judge, Mariano Llorens, was forced to recuse himself from the case because his cousin, Rafael Llorens, former legal counsel at the Planning Ministry, was arrested on August 1 in this same investigation.

Among those requesting release from prison are businessmen who may seek plea bargains, including Hugo Martín Larraburu, secretary to former Cabinet Chief Juan Manuel Abal Medina, who denied his former staff member's involvement; and Walter Fagyas the former president of ENARSA, among others.

Other men in particularly complex legal situations, like former Planning Ministry secretary Roberto Barrata, have not yet requested release from preventative arrest.

This article originally appeared in Spanish on Perfil.com

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