21:39 GMT +309 December 2019
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    Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (C) gestures as she leaves the Federal Court in Buenos Aires on April 13, 2016. Fernandez de Kirchner testified in an investigation into whether she mishandled public funds in connection with Central Bank currency-related operations during the final months of her presidency.

    Of Nuns & Guns: Former Argentine President de Kirchner's Corruption Charges

    © AFP 2019 / Juan Mabromata
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    Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was indicted December 27 on fraud and corruption charges over public works projects she commissioned while in office.

    A federal judge accused de Kirchner, former public works secretary Jose Lopez and planning minister Julio De Vido, among other officials who served under her, of a number of crimes including the "deliberate seizure of funds" intended for public road works. 

    She denies wrongdoing and accuses Argentina's current leader, Mauricio Macri, of using the courts to persecute her. No arrest warrant has been issued as yet.

    Lopez was arrested in June after hiding $8.5 million in dollars, yen, euros and other currencies at a convent, the Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima. Armed with a.22 caliber rifle, he was assisted by resident nuns, who blocked the entry of police officers after he informed them the police were attempting to steal the money. Lopez was subsequently arrested, but not before attempting to bribe the officers into silence.

    This follows similar charges filed in May, when De Kirchner was indicted for "unfaithful administration to the detriment of public administration."

    During her administration, the charges allege the Argentinian Central Bank took money-losing positions in the futures market just before a widely expected devaluation of the peso, and sold dollars at artificially low prices, costing the country US$5.2 billion. 

    In July, her house was raided on the orders of Argentine judge Claudio Bonadio, in an attempt to locate documents relates to the Los Sauces firm Kirchner and her children are shareholders in. Later that month, Argentinian authorities searched deposit boxes belonging to de Kirchner, and her assets were subject to an arrest warrant.

    In an interview with Sputnik, de Kirchner dismissed all the allegations against here, and said she was ready to face incarceration head on. In a subsequent talk, she attributed the legal campaign against her to the resurgence of US-backed right wing forces in the region, amid a renewed US interest in Latin America.

    "A rollback of regional national and popular governments can be observed. The forces which could be described as 'right-wing conservatives' are moving forward…the US has always treated [Latin America] as their own source of energy, food supplies, minerals and water resources," de Kirchner told Sputnik.


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    fraud, bribery, investigation, charges, politics, corruption, Jose Lopez, Mauricio Macri, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, South America, Latin America, Argentina
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