Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio on Thursday added five new counts of graft to the existing charges against ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, also again calling for her to be remanded in custody and expanding the lien on the senator’s assets by a further 80 million pesos.
In new charges follow in the footsteps of more court trouble for the ex-head of state. At the start of the week it was confirmed that the Unidad Ciudadana, now a sitting senator for Buenos Aires Province, would be going on trial as from May 21 after the Federal Cassation Court decided not to combine the cases concerning Santa Cruz public works corruption and money-laundering involving the Kirchner family’s Patagonian hotel chain.
As a result the former case does not share the postponement of the latter (caused by the death of one of the judges) but goes ahead as scheduled next month.
As the court issues progressed, the ex-president remained in Cuba visiting her daughter Florencia undergoing medical treatment there. During her flight there last weekend, which stopped in Panama, she was insulted by a fellow-passenger, against whom charges are reportedly now being pressed.
Bonadio’s five new counts were based on fresh evidence from former Federal Planning Ministry chauffeur Oscar Centeno, who indicated there had been a host of cash deliveries both to Olivos presidential residence and to the ex-Victory Front (FpV) leader's Recoleta flat during her presidency.
The judge also expanded the charges against five other defendants while indicting two executives of the Isolux construction company (part of a Spanish group).
Fernández de Kirchner, who this Friday releases a new book titled Sinceramente, looks increasingly more likely to confirm she will run against President Mauricio Macri in October's presidential election.