Two former private secretaries of ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner were arrested on Wednesday in the Santa Cruz provincial capital of Río Gallegos on the orders of Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio, in connection with the so-called ‘notebooks’ corruption case investigating graft related to public works contracts under the three Kirchner presidencies.
The arrest warrants were issued after former Public Works secretary José López (recently recognised as a whistleblower by Bonadio) named Julio Alvarez and Fabián Gutiérrez as key elements in the chain of payments.
Another trio turned themselves in on Thursday – Raúl Copetti (long the Santa Cruz Victory Front party treasurer who is also reputed to be a bagman for the Kirchner family on the side), a third exsecretary Roberto Sosa and Ricardo Barreiro, who became a millionaire on the strength of being the ex-president’s gardener.
The others were millionaires too. Thus US$90,000 and 2.4 million pesos were found in Copetti’s house at the time of his arrest while Gutiérrez has built up a minor empire of business interests in four provinces. The latter was reportedly negotiating yesterday with Prosecutor Carlos Stornelli to seek court recognition as a whistle-blower.
Wednesday also saw the La Cámpora Kirchnerite youth leaders Eduardo ‘Wado’ De Pedro and José Ottavis testifying at the summons of Bonadio after being named by López. Both roundly denied any part in the graft, arguing that neither the judicial sphere nor Buenos Aires provincial politics (the respective focal points of their activities) had any connection with public works. On Thursday it was the turn of a third La Cámpora leader, Lower House deputy Andrés ‘Cuervo’ Larroque to testify.