It’s been 48 hours since the Argentine Federal Police wrapped up their raid on Cristina Kirchner’s house in El Calafate, during which they made the explosive discovery of a hidden safe containing pen drives and folders full of intelligence information on Kirchner’s allies and political enemies alike.
However, the conflict, surrounding the Kirchner’s alleged involvement in the infamous notebook scandal, reached a new moment of peak tension yesterday after Cristina Kirchner complained that the presidential sashes and staffs belonging to herself and her late husband, former President Néstor Kirchner, were seized during the raid. Both of these items are given to new presidents during their inauguration.
Through her Twitter account, Kirchner stated: “I just found out that among the objects that Bonadio ordered be seized from my house in El Calafate were the presidential sashes and staffs belonging to both myself and Néstor. The violation of rights is unlimited.”
Me acabo de enterar que entre los objetos que mandó a secuestrar Bonadío de mi casa de El Calafate estaban las bandas y bastones presidenciales de Néstor y míos. La violación de los derechos y garantías sin límite. #ArgentinaSinEstadoDeDerecho
— Cristina Kirchner (@CFKArgentina) August 28, 2018
Kirchner has very vocal against the veracity of the notebook scandal since the start, painting the judicial investigation as a politically motivated smear campaign against herself and her followers.
Today, Bonadio made the decision to return the seized items to the Kirchner family after stating that he did not know that they had been taken in the first place.
As judicial sources informed La Nación, when the judge learned that the police had taken the items during the raids, he ordered their immediate return to the former president’s lawyer. According to the sources, the presidential staffs and sashes had been among the folders and pen drives of intelligence information hidden in the concealed safe. Police had thus seized them when they had cleared out everything in the vault.
The return was made in spite of the fact that the Argentine Anti-Corruption Office had emphasized before the items were returned that the objects that a president receives during their inauguration should remain in the possession of the state when their term eventually ends.
Bonadio, however, ultimately disagreed, stating that the items “belong to the presidents,” and that, while it is “tradition” for presidential staffs and sashes to be donated at the end of their terms, presidents are not obliged to do so.