Saturday, October 23, 2021

ARGENTINA | 29-09-2018 09:40

A closer look at Cristina and Néstor Kirchner’s inner circle of trusted aides

Two of the closest collaborators of former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner were arrested in Santa Cruz last Wednesday.

The arrests were part of an investigation looking at the alleged bribes related to public works projects.

The two arrested were the ex-secretaries Julio Álvarez and Victor Fabián Gutiérrez, who were secretaries of the Kirchners. Being a presidential secretary includes many responsibilities and pressures unlike any other assistant, but it also has some benefits. According to what sources inside the former government have confirmed to the Perfil newspaper, being a presidential adviser is a temptation to those looking for influence-peddling or enrichment.

While the Kirchnerite era lasted a long time, the list of their private secretaries is even longer: Juan Francisco ‘Tatú’ Alarcón, Héctor Humberto Farías Brito, Héctor Osvaldo Patrignani, Martín Aguirres, Mariano Cabral, Fabián Gutierrez, Julio Álvarez, Daniel Héctor Muñoz, Isidro Bounine, Pablo Barreiro and Ricardo Barreiro.

These are the men who carry the luggage on trips and tolerate complaints without saying anything. They supported them day and night and did any kind of request. They know the Kirchners like no-one knows them.

Many of the presidents’ former secretaries have surprised the Judiciary with exorbitant increases of their assets in short periods, which they accrued during the Kirchners' time in office. Several have been investigated due to illegal enrichment, though most of them have been declared not guilty.

The following have found themselves in hot water:

Fabián Gutiérrez. The first to first resign in January 2010, he was until then the one most trusted by Cristina. Since the Kirchners arrived to power, his assets have increased by 765 percent in worth. He had several private businesses and built a mansion of 480 square metres in El Calafate.

Julio Álvarez. He resigned in February, 2010. His fortune started at 6,000 pesos and had reached 300,000 pesos by the time he left, including several lands in El Calafate. Álvarez continues to have a relationship with Fernández de Kirchner.

Héctor Daniel Muñoz. He left office with increased assets and was also investigated by the Judiciary. Between 2003 and 2008, his assets rose 11,180 percent. He died in 2016.

Isidro Bounine. He retired in December 2011. He had 15,000 pesos in a bank account when he arrived at the Pink House in 2005 to assist the former president Néstor Kirchner. But he benefited from the Kirchnerite prosperity and in 2008 his assets increased to 830,254 pesos. His equity increase reached 5,435 percent.

Martín Aguirres. He left in March last year and had an equity increase of 260 percent. He started with 320,000 pesos and his final affidavit was 1.15 million pesos, accumulating several land-holdings. The now former government official transferred his investments to his home town, Chivilcoy. There he built a house valued at 400,000 pesos on a land worth 40,000 pesos, according to La Nación. He also has several properties: a house, a land, two allotments and half an apartment. He had an annual income of 600,000 pesos when he resigned.

Ricardo Barreiro. He is one of the sons who took the most advantage possible of the contacts of his father, Ricardo. He was the favoured private secretary of Fernández de Kirchner and managed her social media networks. According to Noticias magazine, in 2006, at the age of 23, he created the company RP Transport SA, but in April, 2007, a few months afterwards, he started to work as manager of the Los Sauces Hotel, in Calafate, property of the Kirchner family. Then, in June, 2008, he resigned to become the manager of the company he already managed since 2006. He continued at RP Transportation until the end of 2009 when he became a driver of Mr Clear, the last company in which he worked for before becoming a private secretary.When he became an assistant for Fernández de Kirchner, the young Barreiro shared the difficulties of his predecessors. Four Kirchnerite secretaries were investigated by the Judiciary and in some cases declared not guilty despite their enrichment. At the end of last year, another of his ventures came to light: the restaurant Campo Grande. This exclusive restaurant was inaugurated for the avant premiere of the movie about Néstor Kirchner.

Héctor Humberto Farías Brito. He left the public office with assets of about 1.5 million pesos, with several properties and lands, a summer house and accounts in US dollars and euros. Brito used to be the former head of the Senate office of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and then became one of her personal advisers. From 2011 to 2012 his assets rose to 200,000 pesos, reaching 1,341,746 pesos, according to his last affidavit. In it, the assets of his wife aren’t disaggregated, something that used to be mandatory until 2011.

Juan Francisco ‘Tatú’ Alarcón. He started as the driver of Néstor Kirchner and then became an adviser of the head of state. When he started in public office he had negative assets of 10,000 pesos, according to a report in Perfil published in October 2013. He said to have 300,000 pesos in his last affidavit. The police officer avoided mentioning, like in his previous affidavits, that he owns a champion bull and that he sold five packs of semen with 50 doses each, all in one year. The animal represents a formidable business and it’s valued at 150,000 pesos, based on what a report published last year. It was reportedly donated to him by an unidentified family.

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