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ARGENTINA | 25-04-2019 01:12

Leonardo Fariña denies ex-lawyer's claim AFI spy agency influenced his testimony

Leonardo Fariña tells the Fourth Oral Tribunal (TOF 4) that his former lawyer made the allegations in a covert attempt to favour Lázaro Báez, the jailed businessman who allegedly acted as a frontman for the Kirchner presidential couple during their terms in office.

Leonardo Fariña, the alleged "delivery boy" for former Kirchner government officials involved in acts of corruption turned state witness, on Wednesday denied allegations made by his former lawyer, who alleged that spies at the country's AFI intelligence agency fed him information to implicate former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in graft investigations.

Fariña, who at times has been variously described as an accountant and businessman, told the Fourth Oral Tribunal (TOF 4) that his former lawyer made the allegations in a covert attempt to favour Lázaro Báez, the jailed businessman who allegedly acted as a frontman for the Kirchner presidential couple during their terms in office.

"All these actions are aimed at defending Lázaro Báez," Fariña said during questioning, alluding to a "gang" which the lawyer is supposedly apart of, which is pushing the allegations as part of "defence strategy". He refused to answer questions by other defence lawyers.

Fariña, who secured one of the first plea bargains in any investigation into alleged Kirchner-era corruption, also denied that sitting Justice Minister Germán Garavano influenced his testimony during a meeting on June 28, 2016.

"The meeting with Garavano happened in his capacity as the minister in charge of the witness protection programme," he told TOF 4, which is trying him for alleged money laundering. Lázaro Báez and his four children are among the co-accused.

In early April, Fariña's former lawyer Giselle Robles claimed he had "repeated" the content of emails allegedly sent to him by AFI agents "verbatim, in his testimony" in order to implicate Fernández de Kirchner and her former associates.

"Before these emails, he [Fariña] had no knowledge of any of this prior to expanding his testimony," she said in testimony given to the Federal Criminal Court of Dolores, where judge Alejo Ramos Padilla is investigating an alleged illegal espionage network with deep roots in the country's Judiciary.

Robles also told the court that the meeting between Fariña, Garavano and herself centred on the government's intention to stop Fariña's media appearances and any attempts on his part to encourage Lázaro Báez, the Kirchners' frontman, of seeking a plea bargain.

Fariña says he split from Robles and lawyer Franco Bindi because they lodged a written declaration to TOF 4 without his approval.

-TIMES/PERFIL

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