Former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is appearing pretty confident when it comes to her chances of being declared innocent in what many are calling the “Future Dollars” case. She formally refused to appeal the Federal Court’s decision to confirm her long-standing indictment in the case investigating her for alleged financial mismanagement.
The former president’s lawyer, Carlos Beraldi, turned written statements into Comodoro Py’s federal courthouse pleading for Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio to speed up the process in hopes of getting the trial into motion as fast as possible.
“Following clear instructions from my client, with the purpose of clarifying these events that are being publicly investigated before an impartial judicial body, I request all measures be taken for this case to be moved to trial as fast as possible,” the statement reads.
At almost the same time as Fernández’s decision was made public, Judge Bonadio said he will have no say about Fernández’s sentence (or lack of) and it will be up to the tribunal to decide whether she committed a crime or not: “I don’t know enough about futurology to say if Cristina is going to go to prison,” he said. Once Bonadio — following a mandatory request from Prosecutor Jorge Di Lello — decides whether to send the case to trial, his job in the case will be done. It’s not up to him to sentence the accused, but investigate the available evidence and conclude if a crime was committed.
Bonadio went on to clarify that even though the case is moving towards its final stages, “the judicial conditions do to warrant Cristina be placed into custody.”
Ever since the cases against the former president began stacking up in Comodoro Py’s shelves, there has been a great deal of speculation about the possibility of her ending up behind bars. Several former Kirchnerite officials with ties to the former administration — Ricardo Jaime, Lázaro Báez, Milagro Sala, to name a few — have remained in custody while they wait for their respective cases to be weighed in on.
However, as Bonadio mentioned, it’s highly unlikely that the former president will follow the same path. Suspects are placed in custody if the judge deems that:
- There is a flight risk and the accused person seems to be at risk of evading justice
- The judge believes that the accused will or is interfering with the investigation
So far, Fernández has always shown willingness to collaborate with the investigation, having gone to testify whenever summoned. Which is why it would be considered arbitrary and even illegal to put her behind bars without having found her guilty of a crime.
Quick recap on the whole future dollars case — this is what Fernández is being accused of:
The “future dollars” case claims that the Argentine Central Bank (BCRA) was instructed to sell dollars at a fixed rate in Argentine pesos for an undefined date in the future. The question now is whether at the end of Fernández de Kirchner’s administration, the Central Bank held onto a lot of “future dollars” at an artificially low rate. Prosecutors allege the monetary authority sold US $10 billion worth of future dollar contracts, when they were actually worth US $15 billion.
Alejandro Vanoli, who was the Central Bank president when the alleged unlawful operations took place, is accused of purposefully selling the future dollars at a low price at the end of last year when both presidential candidates had made it clear they would devalue the local currency.
According to the investigation Fernández, as well as former Economy Minister Axel Kicillof, (along with several other government officials) knowingly attempted to sabotage current President Mauricio Macri’s administration. This accusation is linked to their alleged understanding that Macri intended to sharply devalue the peso by lifting currency controls after taking office. In his ruling, Bonadio states that the BCRA couldn’t have acted without the executive’s knowledge and consent, which would place the blame ultimately with the former president.