Following Leonardo Fariña’s bomb of a statement last night accusing the former Kirchner administration of stealing US $120 billion from the State, Progressive Party’s Margarita Stolbizer, a former presidential candidate, took to the airwaves today to warn everyone to essentially calm down over such sensationalism, lest it deviate attention from the investigation itself.
In an interview with Continental Radio, Stolbizer said that contrary to the explosive reactions around the “120 billion” figure, nothing in particular stood out for her regarding Fariña’s statements on television yesterday.
“What I try to do is bring [things] down to Earth: a lot of fantasy and spectacle is generated […] when numbers like US $100 billion are discussed. If the focus is put on those issues, no matter how serious or scandalous they seem, we will end up frustrated and come up empty handed.”
Fariña is the whistle blower in the Lázaro Báez Case — possibly the biggest money laundering scheme in Argentine history unofficially known as the “K [Kirchner] Money Trail” due to its ties to the former administration. While speaking on television last night, he accused the previous administration of stealing “US $120 billion in 12 years. Then they expect a new government to come in a put gas prices at AR $4 […] What bothers me is the hypocrisy […] they would fly in Economy Class in Aerolíneas Argentinas and come back to an apartment worth US $1 million in Recoleta.”
Fariña has always been a mediatic figure: he became a celebrity of sorts in 2011, famous for driving around in Ferraris and marrying famous model Karina Jelinek, constantly in the public eye. Yesterday’s interview was full of statements like the one above, pointing fingers at the former administration, who were on very friendly terms with Lázaro Báez, the businessman accused of being the brains behind the money laundering scheme.
However, for Stolbizer, the mediatic nature of his statements are (or should be) beside the point:
“If all the raids [on Lázaro Báez’s properties] fail to discover a single peso, the crimes are still there, the crimes have still been committed and there are documents to prove it.”
Last week, raids began on Báez’s 37 properties in Santa Cruz Province: the objective is to appraise the properties in question, confiscate any money (cash), luxury objects (such as jewelry) and assets that might be there and to create an inventory. It’s a huge operation that is set to take weeks to complete.
“We have to try and tone down the decibels a little, create less show around the subject and investigate what’s already [on the table], which is already a lot even if it isn’t the billions that Fariña talks about,” continued Stolbizer.
Fariña has urged Báez to cooperate with the judicial system, but Stolbizer told Continental that she doubted he would, or that it would indeed make a difference:
“I don’t think that Lázaro Báez will talk […] neither do I believe that it would be relevant, he has far too many businesses in common [with the previous administration]. Báez’s destiny is jail,” concluded Stolbizer.