The Federal Criminal Cassation Court on Wednesday confirmed the corruption trials of Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, former Federal Planning minister Julio De Vido and various businessmen, ruling the former president’s objections to be "inadmissible."
Judges Liliana Catucci, Guillermo Yacobucci and Eduardo Riggi all rejected the objections of the vice-president’s lawyer Carlos Beraldi.
Construction tycoons such as Carlos Wagner, Benito Roggio, Osvaldo De Sousa, María Rosa and Gerardo Cartellone and Ángelo Calcaterra (the cousin of ex-president Mauricio Macri) are among the indicted on 175 counts of graft between 2003 and 2015.
According to the prosecution, at least US$160 million was paid in bribes during the 2003-2007 presidency of the late Néstor Kirchner alone. Prosecutors believe Fernández de Kirchner, who served as president from 2007 to 2015, with De Vido as her planning minister, was at the centre of an illegal bribery ring.
This legal case is a spin-off from the so-called ‘cuadernos’ (“notebooks”) trial based on the routes, officials, businessmen and sums of money allegedly carried by a Federal Planning Ministry driver throughout the Kirchnerite years.
However, the core of the cuadernos case is currently being reviewed by the cassation court, in response to defence objections.
The court this week asked the judge of first instance to present the taped and/or filmed statements of the whistleblowers on whose testimony the charges are based, since they do not figure in the fiIe even though filing them is legally obligatory.
Fernández Kirchner, 67, is indicted in nine cases of presumed corruption during her two terms, with a trial in one of them already underway since last year. She insists that all the legal charges are nothing more than political persecution launched during the 2015-2019 presidency of Mauricio Macri.
The former president accuses the Juntos por el Cambio leader of working in collusion with the late federal judge Claudio Bonadio, who died of cancer last February and was trying most of the cases against the vice-president.
Federal judge Marcelo Martínez de Giorgi, who took over the case after Bonadio’s death, has expressed doubts about the investigation, primarily because of the lack of taped or filmed registers of whistle-blower statements.
He asked prosecutor Carlos Stornelli for them last Tuesday, giving him 48 hours to present them. The defence lawyers of the indicted are asking for the whole trial to be quashed due to the absence of these registers.
Federal judge María Romilda Servini de Cubría has already invalidated the statements of former Public Works secretary José López as a whistle-blower because his testimony was not taped.