An agribusinessman at the heart of an evolving scandal involving one of Argentina's most high-profile federal prosecutors on Monday described evidence to support his claims that he was extorted as "irrefutable and abundant."
"I have tried not to speak because I'm not doing well health-wise, but there are things that have not been published as they should have been. The evidence is irrefutable and abundant," Pedro Etchebest said.
Etchebest earlier claimed Prosecutor Carlos Stornelli tried to extort bribes from him via his lawyer Marcelo D'Alessio in exchange for protection in the ongoing investigation into widespread graft in the Kirchner era, for which Stornelli is the lead prosecutor.
Etchebest never spoke directly with Stornelli, he claimed, but did "[shake] his hand."
"After that, D'Alessio told me that since I shook his hand, the deal was done," he added.
The scandal stems from a report by journalist Horacio Verbitsky, allegedly based on an investigation being carried out by federal judge Alejo Ramos Padilla.
It centres on D’Alessio, who was supposedly filmed receiving money that was on its way to Stornelli.
Etchebest, who claims to have recorded all the meetings he had with D'Alessio except the first, was named by former Santa Cruz province Treasury Minister Juan Manuel Campillo in testimony in the so-called 'cuadernos' or "notebooks of corruption" investigation, which is looking into allegations of widespread corruption during the era of Kirchner presidencies.
The pair met "in late 2016 and before then I had never seen him in my life," Etchebest told Página 12 newspaper.
"I had nothing to do with the Kirchners," he added.