As we’ve previously reported, police raided 37 of businessman Lázaro Báez’s properties last month after he was accused of being the brains behind the “K Money Trail” — a wide scale money laundering scheme in which some high-ranking Kirchnerite politicians are implicated.
But this story doesn’t focus on the big shots typically making headlines these days.
Having found herself hitting upon hard times with little money to spare, Glenda Arriagada decided to start squatting in one of Báez’s properties in Santa Cruz Province, Patagonia.
She justified her decision because the house belonged to Báez and she was encouraged by her neighbors to do it. The house, which is in the city of Caleta Olivia, sits behind a shop and has several rooms, but it’s only partly furnished.
“I know what I’m doing is a crime, just like one of the many Báez has inflicted upon the Argentine people, but I’m not hurting Argentines. I’m not hurting anyone,” she told local reporters.
“I’m in a difficult situation because the amount of work I can get is decreasing, so I’m doing other chores such as cooking, but I can’t keep up the rent. I have older daughters and eight grandchildren, some of them will stay with their mothers, but the older ones will come and stay with me.”
Arriagada claims to have the support of the locals, after police tried to kick her out as they seized Báez’s company Austral Constructions.
She’s even appealed to the Ombudsman to install basic utilities in the house, despite not being the legal owner or having a deed.
What’ll happen to Arriagada remains to be seen but she certainly doesn’t seem to have any intention of upping sticks, especially since Báez won’t be needing the house for a long, long time.
Lázaro Báez is a businessman who owns a construction company called Austral Construction, which received a lot of contracts during former President Néstor Kirchner’s presidency. Báez is at the center of a massive corruption scandal for allegedly enabling money laundering with public infrastructure funds, setting up ghost companies in Argentina and in tax havens such as Panama. Police began raiding Báez’s properties, seizing cash, jewelry and other assets to create an inventory. Báez owns some 400,000 hectares – 25 of his 37 properties are farms – which are being raided around the clock by 250 border patrol officers.