Federal Judge Daniel Rafecas today acquitted National Deputy and Cambiemos co-founder Elisa “Lilita” Carrió in a case where she had been accused of unlawful enrichment. This in and of itself seems pretty standard for Argentine politics, where politicians are accused of unlawful enrichment more frequently than not.
However, this case has a shady turn, even for the standards of Argentine politics: the judge decided to acquit Carrió after the same person who pressed the charges against her, a construction worker named Saúl Enrique Paz, admitted he had been paid AR $1,500 to lie in court and accuse the national deputy. Paz went on to confess that he “doesn’t know Carrió, nor does he know the content of the accusation, and never had the will to press charges against her.”
“I don’t even know what that says. It’s my signature, but I didn’t even know what I was signing,” Paz told Rafecas during his last testimony.
“A person who I knew from the neighborhood, Alan González, asked me to be a witness in a case. He told me that if I signed a document he would give me AR $1,500. And he gave them to me,” he added.
Carrió didn’t hesitate pointing out where these accusations could really be coming from. According to her, it could be practically anywhere: “there are sectors of the SIDE (current Federal Intelligence Agency), from the Buenos Aires Province’s intelligence community, but there could also be sectors from the judicial branch who could be involved. High ranking members of the Judiciary or an association between a judge and the Supreme Court President (Ricardo Lorenzetti),” Carrió started.
“But it could also come from sectors of the Province’s political world, because we have accused (Sergio) Villordo, who answers to Sergio Massa. I can’t truly know, we are moving forward with more than ten accusations: one against a (former Buenos Aires Province Governor) Daniel Scioli, another one against (Scioli’s Chief of Staff) Alberto Perez,” she continued.
Carrió made no distinction between political parties at the time of accusing former or current officials — or what their role was or which branch of the government they belong to — of being involved in illegal activities.
Zooming out, it’s public knowledge that Carrió goes after members of the former Kirchner administration with a particular fervor. In fact, she has been credited with getting the ball rolling on some of the most important charges against former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who she accused of being in charge of an unlawful association during her time in office — a charge for which Judge Ercolini indicted her. Carrió has also pressed innumerable charges against former Chief of Staff Aníbal Fernández, for example.
But the her list of enemies is not limited to the Kirchnerite camp. She has also accused the now former head of the Buenos Aires Province police, Pablo Bressi, of receiving money from drug-trafficking organizations; the Deputy Head of the AFI, Silvia Majdalani, of spying on her; Buenos Aires Province Security Minister, Cristian Ritondo, of corruption; and she has a personal feud with Supreme Court President Ricardo Lorenzetti.
It’s unlikely we will ever find out who was really behind this latest set up, and whether the person who got Paz to press the charges had a political motivation. But it’s not far fetched to think that someone could want to smear her to undermine her credibility, and shows that even if she takes a blind shot, she has definitely landed more than one punch on someone with something to hide.