Local news outlets yesterday were abuzz with fresh legal gossip: Federal Prosecutor Carlos Rívolo on Monday indicted former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her son Máximo on charges of embezzlement and forgery of public documents in the context of a case investigating the allegedly shady business dealings of Los Sauces S.A., a real estate company owned by the Kirchner family.
This means Cristina is now being investigated in three different cases: Hotesur, the “future dollar contracts” and this latest one. This brief list doesn’t take her implication in the “K Money Trail” (officially known as the Lázaro Báez Case) into account, which is currently investigating what could be the largest money laundering scheme in the country’s history.
The investigation began after former presidential candidate and Progressive Front leader Margarita Stolbizer — who also was responsible for the launch of the Hotesur investigation — pressed charges against Los Sauces for allegedly renting its real estate to companies owned by the former President’s main business partners: Lázaro Báez, the main State contractor under the Kirchner administrations, and Cristóbal López, another businessman.
Basically, the company is accused of embezzling State funds much in the same way that Cristina is accused of embezzling State funds in the Hotesur Case: by putting the money into a “front.” (In the Hotesur Case, Báez’s flagship company Austral Constructions used rooms in the presidential family hotel Alto Calafate as the front).
“In Hotesur, favors were paid through room rental. When it comes to Los Sauces, favors were paid through real estate rentals from Lázaro Báez and Cristóbal López’s companies,” said Stolbizer after pressing charges, which will be investigated by Judge Claudio Bonadio, whose known anti-Kirchnerism is probably not making the accused leap for joy.
- Read more: Why Cristina Is Dead Set Against Judge Claudio Bonadio Presiding Over The Future Dollars Case
According to La Nación, Judge Bonadio has already opened the investigation and has determined to keep it under strict secrecy. Will we watch Cristina walk up to the Comodoro Py’s Federal Courthouse again? Only Bonadio will tell (although judging by his open hatred of Cristina, the answer is likely to be yes.)
Just in case your memory was shady on the other cases pending against Cristina, here’s a quick review:
- Hotesur is a company that managed hotels in Santa Cruz Province that belong to the Kirchner family. Initially flagged for not paying taxes, later investigations refocused the case around an alleged money laundering scheme by businessman Lázaro Báez, who was contracted by the Kirchner administration to carry out construction projects. He is suspected of having used the hotels as a front for the laundering scheme by renting two rooms for two years, racking up a AR $15 million charge, but without ever actually occupying them. Báez is currently behind bars and awaits trial for embezzlement in another case called the Lázaro Báez Case or, more informally, the “K Money Trail.”
- Read more: Judge Bonadio Moves the Hotesur Case Forward
- Future Dollars
- This case investigates whether suspects including former Central Bank (BCRA) head Alejandro Vanoli sold future dollar contracts at a lower rate than the market price. Future dollars commit the BCRA to sell dollars at a fixed rate in Argentine pesos at some date in the future, at an artificially low rate to unknown buyers. In this case, US $10 billion worth of future dollar contracts were sold, when those futures were actually worth US $15 billion. Vanoli is accused of effectively giving away US $5 billion to the original buyers of the future contracts in question given his knowledge of President Mauricio Macri’s explicit intention to devalue the Argentine peso from US $10 to US $15.
- Read more: Cristina Testifies At Comodoro Py On Future Dollars Case