Thursday, August 5, 2021

ARGENTINA | 07-10-2017 11:19

What we learned this week: Boudou, Let's Change, mortgages

Take a look at the most important news from the last seven days.

LET’S CHANGE SEEKS A CHANGE TO ITS LIST. Joanna Picetti, occupying the eighth slot in the list of the Let’s Change (Cambiemos) ruling coalition’s City list of Lower House candidates, has been bounced from that candidacy at the behest of Elisa Carrió heading that list after her ex- husband accused her of abusing their children. Picetti’s path to her candidacy had been her job at AySA waterworks under its former trustee Gladys González, who is seconding Esteban Bullrihce’s senatorial candidacy in Buenos Aires province for Let’s Change (a job Picetti recently lost  for similar reasons). The eighth slot on Carrió’s list offers real chances of entering the Lower House.

MORTGAGES ARE BOOMING. The housing sector offered various signs of a boom last week with August real estate transactions up 42  percent from the same month last year to reach the highest level in a decade while the system for the PROCREAR youth mortgage scheme  collapsed for several hours on Tuesday when demand was almost tenfold the 45,000 mortgages on offer. Mortgages as a whole under the UVA index-linking system grew by over eight billion pesos last month or 14.2 percent by comparison with August. The revival of mortgages is thought to have had a major impact on the August surge of real estate transactions. Banco de la Nacion Argentina said that it granted 3,103 mortgage  credits in August for a total amount of 3.9 billion pesos, which represents a record for one month.

MILAGRO RETURNS TO THE HEADLINES. Milagro Sala, the jailed Tupac Amaru leader, returned to the headlines this week. At press time  last Friday, the indigenous leader’s house arrest was revoked the Jujuy’s Chamber of Appeals, a decision that will send her back to jail. In  interviews this week, Sala accused the government of “violating her human rights.” She has been incarcerated under pre-trial detention ever since  she was first detained in January 2016. Originally charged with inciting violence, before those charges were dropped, she faces allegations of  embezzlement related to government funding for housing projects managed by Túpac Amaru, which prosecutors say were never completed.

EX-VEEP BOUDOU THE LATEST FORMER OFFICIAL TO FACE THE MUSIC IN COURT. Former Vice-President Amado Boudou went on  rial Tuesday on corruption and malfeasance charges. Boudou, 54, is accused of using shell companies and middlemen to gain control of a  money-printing while serving as economy minister in the Cristina Fernández de Kirchner administration. Boudou, 54, is accused of using shell  companies and middlemen to gain control of a money-printing while serving as economy minister in the Cristina Fernández de Kirchner administration. Boudou, who held the economy portfolio from 2009-2011 before becoming VP, denies all charges. The trial is delicately timed in  political terms with the October 22 midterm elections now only a fortnight away. Ex-president Fernández de Kirchner’s bid for a Senate seat in  Buenos Aires province is the central focus of attention in that campaign. The charges faced by Boudou and others comprise just one of a string of  orruption scandals involving members of the CFK administration at all levels and recently going to trial. The ex-president has dismissed all  charges as politically motivated. Boudou is accused of engineering the Ciccone printing company’s exit from bankruptcy and its purchase by The Old Fund shell company (originally based in Curacao) to benefit from tax exemptions and government contracts.The Old Fund (headed by co-defendant and presumed Boudou proxy Alejandro Vandenbroele) is also involved in a bogus multimillion consultancy contract with the Formosa  provinicial government, which has led to fresh charges against Boudou last week. If convicted, Boudou could be sentenced to up to six years in  prison as well as banned for life from public office.

PRESS TIME UPDATE: Former Planning minister Julio de Vido, who served in both Kirchner governments, will be called to testify over alleged corruption related to public works projects in Argentina involving Brazilian firm Odebrecht.

GOVERNMENT FINDS A FOOLPROOF WAY TO GUARANTEE WORLD CUP QUALIFICATION. Let’s not mention Thursday night, shall  e? Yes, it wasn’t a great result, you’re right but there’s still one more chance ahead for La Albiceleste and as long as Argentina remembers  how to score a goal, they should be alright. All eyes on Ecuador on Tuesday night. Despite the disappointment, however, and the struggle to  qualify for the World Cup, it seems the government may have come up with a foolproof way to guarantee Argentina makes the 2030 tournament:  hosting it. Genius. Hosting his peers Tabaré Vázquez and Horacio Cartes at the Casa Rosada this week, President Mauricio Macri confirmed that  Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay will form a joint bid to host the centenary World Cup in 2030. Exciting! Even FIFA chief Gianni Infantino  turned up! (Ok, so technically the bid was in the works before Thursday night, but perhaps this is just evidence of the football-supporting president’s ability to foresee problems on the field that lie ahead?)

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