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ARGENTINA | 18-07-2019 09:23

Federal court upholds near-six-year sentence against ex-VP Boudou

Defence team for convicted former vice-president, who served under Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, set to take appeal all the way to Supreme Court.

Former vice-president Amado Boudou will serve a sentence of five years and 10 months in prison, a federal court ruled yesterday, after confirming the outstanding conviction against him in the so-called 'Ciccone case' and rejecting an appeal from his defence team.

However, the legal team acting for Boudou, who is already serving the sentence in Ezeiza prison 100 kilometres south of the capital, said they would appeal the ruling to the nation's highest tribunal, the Supreme Court of Justice.

Boudou, who was VP to Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, was convicted in August last year of passive bribery charges and "negotiations incompatible with the public function," after it was proven in court that he used shell companies and secret middlemen to gain control of 70 percent of the Ciccone Calcográfica publishing house. The company, which was taken over by 'The Old Fund,' held contracts to print Argentine currency as well as material for former president Fernández de Kirchner's election campaign. 

Boudou had been released late last year into home detention, though plaintiffs in the Ciccone case, including state-run anti-corruption agencies, appealed the decision and he was soon returned to Ezeiza. He denies any wrongdoing.

"This trial has been strange from the beginning, in that the responsibility of proof was inverted. I have had to prove I didn't know someone, prove I didn't attend a meeting," the former VP said last year

"The bribery has no basis nor any connection with any evidence because it never happened," Boudou claimed.

Unanimous

In a unanimous ruling on Wednesday, judges from the Federal Chamber of Criminal Cassation rejected an appeal from the former vice-president's defence team, which alleged that evidence presented during the trial had indicated that two bankers were the real buyers of the Ciccone printing house. Boudou's lawyers claimed the case against their client was part of a campaign of judicial persecution against opponents of President Mauricio Macri.

The judges – Gustavo Hornos, Mariano Borinsky and Javier Carbajo – rejected those claims and confirmed the conviction handed out by in Federal Oral Court 4. They also confirmed additional sentences handed out by the court against José María Núñez Carmona (five years and six months in prison) and Nicolás Ciccone (four years and six months). 

The court also ratified suspended sentences against Alejandro Vandenbroele (two years), Rafael Resnick Brenner (three years) and Guido Forcieri (two years and six months).

Vandenbroele, who was the public face of the company that took over Ciccone Calcográfica, turned state's witness in order to give evidence against Boudou and his partners.

Boudou – who also served as economy minister during Fernández de Kirchner's 2007-2015 administration – has also been disqualified from holding a post in public office for life.

- TIMES/NA/AFP

 

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