Federal Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral confirmed on Monday that he would be resigning later this month – a resignation synonymous with retirement since he will be reaching the age limit of 75 on July 29, which will be the last day of a long and controversial judicial career.
This will be no routine retirement since he leaves facing five different charges of malfeasance before the Magistrates Council – two linked to his extravagant lifestyle beyond the normal means of a judge (including a 15th birthday party for his daughter costing over three million pesos), one regarding irregular earnings by agents at the Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI), another for extorting bribes and the last for making private flights paid by businessmen he was supposed to be investigating. The most recent charge against him concerned renting a mansion within a gated community at a fee of US$3,200 a month.
One of his last initiatives within a generally paralysed judicial system was to summon various officials of the previous Mauricio Macri presidency, including ex-ministers Nicolás Dujovne (Economy) and Guillermo Dietrich (Transport), for questioning for the alleged irregular awarding of highway toll contracts during that administration.
A federal judge since 1993, Canicoba Corral’s integrity was questioned at a very early point in his career when upon resigning as Economy minister in 1996, Domingo Cavallo included his name among the list of “napkin judges.” The list was allegedly written by then-interior minister Carlos Corach on a serviette during a restaurant lunch and identified judges subservient to the administration of the day, the 1989-1999 Carlos Menem presidency.
Among the many high-profile cases tried by Canicoba Corral is the investigation of the 1994 terrorist bomb destruction of the AMIA Jewish community centre (in his hands since 2003), where he issued an international arrest warrant for seven senior Iranian officials suspected of masterminding the attack, and the related Memorandum of Understanding with Iran (2013). The judge now resigns in a week ending with the 26th anniversary of that atrocity today.