Prosecutor of Argentina asks for 12 years in prison for Vice President Kirchner

Prosecutor of Argentina asks for 12 years in prison for Vice President Kirchner
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Vice President and President of the Argentine Senate, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, watches as lawmakers gather to debate and vote on an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), at the National Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 17, 2022. REUTERS/ Agustín Marcarián

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BUENOS AIRES, Aug 22 (Reuters) – An Argentine federal prosecutor on Monday sought a 12-year prison sentence for Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the country’s former president and current vice president, on corruption charges related to public works.

Prosecutor Diego Luciani accused Fernández de Kirchner, a still-influential voice on the left wing of the ruling Peronist party, of defrauding the state and participating in a scheme to siphon off public funds while he was president from 2007 to 2015.

The sentence will be known in months, according to local media, although Fernández de Kirchner could appeal it to higher courts, which would take years to reach a final verdict.

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“This is probably the biggest corruption maneuver that has ever been known in the country,” Luciani said when arguing the sentence, which has fueled a new political tension in the South American country.

On Twitter, Fernández de Kirchner, who testified in court in 2019, said he was facing a “media-judicial firing squad” and “not a constitutional court.”

The former president added that she was not given the opportunity to testify about new elements of the case and that she would present her defense on social media on Tuesday.

The president of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, condemned the decision on Twitter and described the decision in a statement as a case of judicial persecution.

“None of the facts attributed to the former president have been proven,” the statement said.

The prosecutor also requested that Fernández de Kirchner be barred from holding public office for life.

Later on Monday, local police dispersed dozens of protesters in front of Kirchner’s house in the Buenos Aires capital, with camps both against and in favor of the prosecutor’s request, local television showed.

The investigation seeks to establish whether she and other government officials favored the firms of businessman Lázaro Báez in the bidding processes for dozens of public works in the southern region of Patagonia, many of which were overvalued or did not conclude.

Many experts suspect that the allegedly diverted capital would have returned to the Kirchner family through their companies.

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Information from Nicolás Misculin and Jorge Otaola; Edited by Marguerita Choy, Stephen Coates, and Sam Holmes

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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