Two former private secretaries of former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner – Daniel Álvarez and Fabián Gutiérrez – were arrested this morning in Río Gallegos, in Santa Cruz. in the context of the “notebooks scandal” case.
Their arrest comes after former Public Works Secretary José López, as part of his plea bargain, indicated the role they played in the alleged wide-ranging corruption scheme that was in place during the Kirchner administrations.
López said that the infamous bags he was caught throwing over the walls of a convent in June 2016 belonged to Cristina Kirchner and that was Gutiérrez who contacted him to give him instructions regarding the need to move the money.
“Fabián told me I had to move some money. He did not disclose the exact sum, but I assumed it was large. On June 13, three people came to me on Fabián’s behalf and gave me the bags that were then seized and left,” said López in his testimony, in which he also assured that “Fabián was Cristina.”
Gutiérrez, who currently administers several businesses in the provinces of Santa Cruz and Tierra del Fuego, was already being investigated for money laundering in another case. Based on López’s statements, Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio requested to intervene in the case, in order to determine if the actions he is accused of are related to the “notebooks scandal.”
In order to avoid being arrested, Gutiérrez had appeared spontaneously before the courts to reject López’s statements, since judges only order pre-trial arrests if they consider the suspects can and intend to either tamper with the investigation or flee the country. Bonadio ordered his arrest regardless.
Álvarez, on his end, was accused of being involved in the scheme by Sergio Velázquez, who flew the presidential plane during the Kirchner administrations.
Velázquez raised suspicion about the Kirchners’ procedure to bring their suitcases onto the Tango 01, indicating that “five minutes before the plane would take off, cars and vans would enter the tarmac. They were synchronized with the helicopter, carrying the presidential family and their secretaries. The moment they made it to the tarmac, the cars and vans would park next to the plane and in less than three minutes they would board all the suitcases, which were not scanned nor dispatched,” said Velázquez. He did not say Álvarez took the bags once they arrived in Santa Cruz, but that he was aware of the scheme.