Former vice-president Amado Boudou has been granted parole after serving two-thirds of his sentence for crimes related to the irregular acquisition of the Ciccone Calcográfica money-printing company.
Judge Ricardo Basilico granted “conditional release” to Boudou, a former economy minister, on Thursday. The decision came less than a week after the Federal Criminal Cassation Court endorsed a ruling that shaved 10 months off the vice-president’s 70-month sentence, in part due to a host of academic courses completed during his period of detention.
Boudou has been serving out his house arrest at a home in Barracas since April 6, 2020, after he was released from jail amid the coronavirus pandemic. Aged 58, he was well below the age permitting house arrest (70) when released and nor did he belong to any coronavirus risk group. His exit from prison coincided with the release of many convicts on those grounds, a controversial issue at that time.
The former vice-president was found guilty in 2018 of graft and malfeasance for using his post as economy minister to buy up via a front man the Ciccone Calcográfica publishing house, historically contracted by the state to print money and documents. The company held contracts to print Argentine currency as well as material for former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's election campaign.
He was eventually given five years and eight months in jail for his crimes, later receiving another three-year suspended sentence for forging the papers of a car he sold in 1992.
Boudou’s conviction was confirmed in 2019 by a federal appeals court but the vice-president's defence went all the way up to the Supreme Court. Last December, the justices unanimously upheld his sentence.
Under the terms of his parole, he is prohibited from changing his address or leaving the country without the court’s prior authorisation and remains banned from holding public office. The electronic bracelet he has worn since being under house arrest will be removed.
Speaking on Friday, the former vice-president said his release was no cause for a “great celebration” and denied the crimes for which he was convicted.
“There has not been a change in the justice system. There are still cases like that of [jailed Tupac Amaru leader] Milagro [Sala], the preventive prison [orders] of [ex-planning minister] Julio De Vido,”he complained. “Ultimately, I served two-thirds of the sentence. I do not lose sight that it is an important step.”
Boudou also spoke about the judicial order banning him from returning to government.
"I would like the impossibility of holding public office [order] to be reversed, although we have to understand that politics can be done everywhere, a position is not necessary. We have to understand politics outside of those vanities," said the former government minister, who was Fernández de Kirchner’s running mate in the 2011 elections.
Boudou, who has also been ordered to pay a 90,000-peso fine, has consistently claimed that he is a victim of ‘lawfare’ and that the decision to jail him came amid political pressure.
"The Ciccone case was a parody of a trial," he charged. "The judicial court validated a sentence written many years ago in the media. In my case the sentence was already written in the media and the court validated it.”