National Deputy Margarita Stolbizer formally accused former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of using a hotel that she owned to launder public funds embezzled during her time in office. No, you are not mistakenly reading an article from 2014 about the now infamous Hotesur case, where Fernández has been formally charged with embezzlement and money laundering and is under investigation.
Last Friday, Stolbizer accused the former president of doing exactly that again, only with another venue: the Waldorf hotel in the Buenos Aires City. The only difference between the two accusations, according to the national deputy, is the fact that the former president allegedly owns this second hotel in secret, when it’s of public knowledge that her family owns the Alto Calafate hotel, whose operations are being investigated in the Hotesur case.
The accusation was revealed on TV show La Cornisa yesterday and is yet another episode in Stolbizer’s crusade to reveal what she is convinced are the former Fernández’s numerous financial crimes. In fact, Stolbizer is behind two of highest profile accusations against the former president: the previously mentioned Hotesur case and the so-called Los Sauces case, which has seen her indicted for — still, allegedly — laundering money through renting rooms and real estate to two of her known associates, businessmen Lázaro Báez and Cristóbal López.
In her formal accusation, Stolbizer argued that two of the hotel’s regular clients are indeed Báez and López and that its visible owner is Osvaldo “Bochi” Sanfelice, who also initially bought the Alto Calafate hotel and has repeatedly been accused of being the Kirchner’s front-man. Sanfelice is also the legal representative of Hotesur and Los Sauces.
“The Waldorf hotel was illegally funded through simulated rental of rooms by a series of companies such as Valle Mitre, which is owned by Báez, and CPC, which is owned by López,” reads a passage of the accusation.
According to the information presented by Stolbizer, the Waldorf hotel lost money in 2009. However in 2010, the profited for AR $879,000 and from then on it consistently grew: It made AR $8 million in 2011 and almost AR $9 million in 2013.
“This way, we can safely affirm that Sanfelice bought the Waldorf hotel, hiding the Kirchner family’s involvement in the operation, in the same way he did it so many times before. And after the purchase Lázaro Báez, through Valle Mitre company, injected low sums of money every month by renting rooms — which we suspect have never been used — same as has happened with the other family hotels,” Stolbizer argued.
Because of the similarities with the previous cases and the fact that the accused parties are practically the same as before, Stolbizer requested (through her lawyer) that the accusation becomes part of the larger Hotesur investigation, which is already on track to find out if these accusations have any legal and factual basis.