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‘Notebooks Scandal’: Cristina Kirchner Refuses to Answers Questions, Hands in Written Statement

She recused the judge and the prosecutor.

By | [email protected] | August 13, 2018 9:31am

crisPhoto via Perfil

Update: As anticipated, the former President refused to answer any questions in her appearance before Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio, and instead delivered a written statement, in which she requested both the judge and Federal Prosecutor Carlos Stornelli be recused from the case. And same as he has been arguing in the other cases in which she has been charged or indicted, Kirchner indicated that the case is yet another attempt from her political enemies to smear her and her along with her political movement.

She also implicitly compared her situation with former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva, currently in prison as a result of his “passive” involvement in the Lava Jato corruption scandal, assuring that her situation is a result of a broader “regional strategy to proscribe leaders, movements and forces that allowed millions of people to overcome poverty during the first decade and a half of the 21st century.”

Below, a translation of her tweets.

“Ever since December 10, 2015, I have been set up with six criminal cases and all of them ended up in [the Comodoro Py courthouse]. Out of those six, five were launched and spearheaded by Bonadio. Is it a miracle? No. Is it forum shopping?

“Something worse: it’s a political decision by the Judiciary, in coordination with the Executive Branch and the mainstream media, to anoint Bonadio as the executing arm of the persecution against me.”

“Thus emerges a new legal category, that goes beyond that coined by Baigun as ‘biased judge’ or ‘no-judge’ coined by Baigun: the enemy judge, the main actor of the #LawFare.”

“It is the new regional strategy aimed at proscribing leaders, movements and political forces that expanded rights and allowed millions to overcome poverty during the first decade and a half of the 21st Century.”

“Today, Bonadio again summons me to testify, accusing me of being the head of a new illicit association. This time, with the main business leaders of the construction sector. I am on my fourth criminal organization. And I am always the boss.”

“For two years I have been asking for an audit of all public works conducted between 2003 and 2015. Every time, my request was denied in court. Bills introduced in Congress seeking to make that happen were not put up for discussion thanks to the ruling party’s representatives.”

“It is ridiculous and an insult to intelligence, to try to make us believe it was Néstor Kirchner who organized a corruption scheme surrounding public works starting May 25, 2003, in a country whose current President is Mauricio Macri.”

“Mauricio Macri, son of Franco, first cousin of Ángelo Calcaterra, best friend of Nicolás ‘Nicky’ Caputo, all of them partners with each other and with other business leaders working in the energy public works sector…”

“All of them emblematic members of the ‘contracting land’ [making reference to the term used to describe a perceived alliance between public officials and business leaders that enriched through the awarding of public works] that emerged during the last military dictatorship and consolidated during the 80’s and 90’s. Besides, it is absurd that said business leaders try to portray themselves as victims of that process or those practices.”

“Abundant bibliography, investigations and documentation explain a structural problem in our country. Below, I leave you the written statements we will present today.”

Former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will testify today as a suspect in the so-called notebooks scandal case, which began after the surfacing of a series of notebooks detailing a well-oiled bribery scheme involving government officials and business leaders in order to get government contracts.

The notebooks, which detailed names, locations and dates involved in money drop meetings, were kept in secret by the personal driver of Deputy Planning Secretary Roberto Baratta, during the Kirchner administrations.

The former President is expected to arrive at the Federal Courthouses of Comodoro Py, in Buenos Aires, around 10 AM to appear before Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio. People speaking on behalf of the former President have already said that, just as she’s done in similar situations in the past, she will refuse to testify and turn in a written statement instead.

In the notebooks, driver Oscar Centeno wrote that a high number of bags containing kickbacks that business leaders paid Baratta in exchange for being awarded public contracts either ended up in the former President’s personal apartment, in Recoleta, or at the Olivos presidential residence.

Kirchner referred to today’s event on Sunday and asked her followers to refrain from going to the courthouse to support her.

“Tomorrow, Monday, I will go to Comodoro Py, just like I have done every time I have been asked to appear in court. To those fellow activists who wanted to march there as a show of support, I beg you not to do it,” reads the first of Kirchner’s two tweets about the subject.

“Let’s put all our efforts and energy on supporting and helping those who are having an extremely, extremely bad time in this real economic and social catastrophe that is the government of Mauricio Macri,” she added. It is likely the former President will focus on the dire state the economy is currently in, arguing the scandal is a ruse aimed at deflecting the political spotlight from the issue.