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ARGENTINA | 16-08-2019 10:12

Court grants Fernández de Kirchner permission for fourth trip to Cuba

Former president granted permission to leave country for eight days and miss hearings from her trial regarding alleged fraud in public works projects.

Federal Oral Court Number 2 has granted former president and Frente de Todos vice-presidential candidate Cristina Fernández de Kirchner permission to travel to Cuba for a fourth time and miss hearings from her ongoing corruption trial.

The senator for Buenos Aires Province, who is standing trial for alleged public works graft, has been authorised to travel from August 22 to 30, judicial sources confirmed to Télam news agency last night. It will be her fourth visit to the island this year.

In their request to the court, which was accompanied by copies of round-trip tickets, the former president’s defence team cited "personal reasons" for a would be a temporary absence from court proceedings covering oral arguments.

Fernández de Kirchner's daughter, Florencia Kirchner, is currently in Cuba, having resided there since the beginning of 2019. The former president's daughter was granted permission to stay on the island and undergo medical treatment by Federal Oral Court Number 5, which is investigating separate alleged money-laundering charges involving members of the Kirchner family.

The former president, who faces a string of corruption allegations against her in the court, is facing accusations of fraud related to public works projects. Prosecurots allege there were irregularities in the bidding of contracts that ultimately went to businessman Lázaro Báez. A total of 51 contracts are being assessed by a body of experts for the Supreme Court for the trial, which began in May.

In this trial, Fernández de Kirchner is formally accused forming part of an "illicit assocation" and of receiving bribes skimmed off public works contracts in the southern province of Santa Cruz awarded to Báez, a businessman who was close to her and her late husband. 

The judges in charge of Court 2 decided yesterday that the former president's absence would not be an inconvenience, as well as granting a request from the defence team asking that their selected expert be given more time to assess documentation related to the case.

Fernández de Kirchner's last trip to Cuba took place between July 2 and 10. This is the fourth time she has requested permission to travel to Cuba.

The visit will be Fernández de Kirchner's first trip overseas since her Peronist coalition's strong performance in last Sunday's PASO primary elections, which saw opposition presidential candidate Alberto Fernández emerge with a 15-point lead over incumbent President Mauricio Macri. The presidential election takes place in October.



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