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Court Freezes Offshore Lázaro Báez Accounts With €3 Million

The tribunal in the 'K Money' case ordered the freezing after a tip from the UIF

By | [email protected] | September 19, 2018 10:20am

Lázaro Báez. Photo via Cronista

La Nación’s investigative journalist Hugo Alconada Mon reported on Tuesday that a federal tribunal managed to freeze three million euros located in an offshore bank account that allegedly belongs to Lázaro Báez, one of the main government contractors during the Kirchner administrations, and investigated in several cases for alleged illegal business with the former presidential family.

The court is set to begin trying Báez for his involvement in the so-called “K Money Trail” case, which investigates whether he was part and played a key role in a  money laundering scheme set up to embezzle and then launder government funds during the mentioned administrations. Báez has been in pre-trial arrest for over two years now – since April 2016 – due to his involvement in this case.

The tribunal made the request to Bahamas officials after being tipped by the Financial Information Unit (UIF), a group of state prosecutors tasked with investigating financial crimes. According to Alconada Mon, the account was formally owned by one “Kinsky Foundation,” a shell company controlled by Báez and his four children.

This is far from being the first time in which Báez is investigating for – still allegedly – siphoning ill-gotten money overseas. For example, a previous report revealed that in November 2015, the Báez family sent funds to an account belonging to an account in Dubai, which was owned by another shell company, and in 2016, the officials investigating the case found out they had five accounts with a total of US $25 million in a Swiss bank. The companies that owned this money were based in Panama and Uruguay.

The trial for the “K Money Trail” case will begin on October 30 and, at least for now, will not see former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner testifying in court, as the federal judge who investigated the case, Sebastián Casanello, considered there was not enough evidence to charge her with a crime.

However, two higher courts disagreed with Casanello and ordered him to call the former President into questioning. This event in fact took place yesterday and Kirchner, faithful to her style, refused to answer any questions and instead delivered a written statement rejecting having any involvement in the case and assuring the Macri administration pressured the courts to summon her.

“They can continue to watch my every move and my family’s, wiretap my conversations and dig up in Patagonia, but they will never find anything that involves me, because I never embezzled money,” reads a part of the statement delivered by the former President, making reference to the fact that last weekend, law enforcement carried out an unsuccessful operation aimed at finding an alleged container full of ill-gotten money in a ranch belonging to Báez, in the context of the so-called “notebooks scandal” case.