Buenos Aires, Argentina – Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has delivered a fiery ultimate phrase in her defence, calling corruption allegations in opposition to her a “staged fable designed to drag me by the hair to this trial”.
In closing arguments earlier than a federal courtroom on Friday, Argentina’s highly effective vp additionally linked the judicial proceedings to an assassination try on her earlier this month, and steered that a number of the folks behind the September 1 assault have but to be apprehended.
“Until the first of September, I believed that this was all about stigmatising me, banning me, denigrating me, defaming me. But as of the first of September, I realised that there may be something else behind all this,” she stated.
“It’s like the judicial sphere is giving social licence so that anyone can think or do anything.”
Friday’s listening to got here simply weeks after a person pointed a revolver at Fernandez de Kirchner’s head amid a crowd of supporters who had rallied outdoors her Buenos Aires home in a present of assist amid the corruption case. The attacker pulled the set off, however the gun didn’t hearth.
The assassination try drew widespread condemnation but it surely has had a negligible impact on the general public’s opinion of Fernandez de Kirchner, with polls this month pegging her optimistic picture ranking at between 24 and 34 %.
During her deal with to the courtroom, Fernandez de Kirchner made a degree of calling the folks now accused within the assassination try the “material authors” – saying that “no one can think that that group planned” or “were the intellectual authors” of the assault.
The accused gunman, Fernando Andre Sabag Montiel, 35, has been charged with tried homicide, alongside together with his 23-year-old girlfriend Brenda Uliarte. Two different folks have additionally been arrested.
Friday marked the final alternative for Fernandez de Kirchner to defend herself earlier than a panel of three judges in Buenos Aires.
She is charged with main “an illicit organisation” and “aggravated fraudulent administration” in a case that covers a interval between 2003 and 2015 throughout which she and her late husband, Nestor Kirchner, occupied the presidency of Argentina.
Prosecutors say that in her years on the helm, from 2007 to 2015, Fernandez de Kirchner illegally helped direct state funds into public roadworks contracts that had been awarded to firms owned by an affiliate of the Kirchners within the southern province of Santa Cruz, which is their political stronghold.
A complete of 51 contracts had been awarded to firms owned by Lazaro Baez, who’s amongst 12 different folks charged within the roadworks case. Baez was convicted of cash laundering in a separate case final 12 months.
“When Nestor Kirchner took over the presidency of the nation, and later his wife … they installed and maintained within the national and provincial administration of Santa Cruz, one of the most extraordinary corruption matrixes that unfortunately and sadly ever existed in the country,” lead prosecutor Diego Luciani stated in his remarks final month.
Estimating that $926m was defrauded by the state, Luciani has requested the courtroom to condemn Fernandez de Kirchner to 12 years in jail for her position within the alleged scheme and to impose a lifetime ban on her holding public workplace.
That triggered enormous demonstrations in assist of her outdoors her home, together with the one throughout which the assassination try happened.
In courtroom on Friday, Carlos Beraldi, Fernandez de Kirchner’s lawyer, went by means of the allegations made by prosecutors that he stated will not be backed up by the info.
Using witness testimony from the trial, he refuted claims that street works weren’t accomplished, overpriced or delayed. He additionally stated the price of the alleged fraud was not a critical estimate. “Cristina Kirchner never issued any directive related to the works under investigation,” stated Beraldi.
Fernandez de Kirchner stated the prosecutors on this case needs to be investigated for the “incredible lies” that they propagated, including that allegations that she headed up a bootleg organisation are illogical and unconstitutional. “We were elected by the people. We can never be an illicit association,” she stated.
A ruling within the case might come as quickly as December, or early subsequent 12 months, when Argentina may have presidential elections.
“This case is important because of the political actors at play,” Argentinian political analyst Ricardo Rouvier instructed Al Jazeera, noting that Fernandez de Kirchner continues to be the chief of a political minority in Argentina that’s nonetheless “very active”.
The implications for subsequent 12 months’s federal election will not be but clear, he added. “We’ll have to see what the outcome is.”