BUENOS AIRES – A federal prosecutor asked on Monday that former President Cristina Fernández and her son be investigated for possible illegal enrichment in connection to two businessmen accused of money laundering and tax evasion.
Fernández was dogged by corruption allegations during her eight years in the presidency. Since leaving office in December she has also been included in investigations involving allegations of money laundering and state fraud.
On Monday, federal prosecutor Carlos Rívolo made the formal request to Judge Claudio Bonadio. He is overseeing an investigation of a real estate company owned by Fernández and her son Máximo Kirchner and its ties to businessmen Lázaro Baez and Cristóbal López. Under Argentine law, a request for an investigation precedes any charges, which must be decided on by a judge.
The Los Sauces company was established in 2006 by Fernández’s late husband and predecessor as president, Nestor Kirchner. Prosecutors say the company rented properties from Báez, who was arrested last month on money laundering accusations, and López who is being probed for possible tax evasion. Both businessmen are being investigated for illegal enrichment during the 12 years that the presidential couple was in power.
The case was launched after an opposition legislator charged that the renting of properties by the Los Sauces company covered up payments to the Kirchners for granting the two businessmen public works contracts and other projects.
Last month, Bonadio called Fernández to testify on any role she played in the Central Bank’s alleged decision to sell dollars on the futures market at an artificially low price in the months before leaving office. At the time, there was a large gap between the official rate of the Argentine peso against the dollar and the rate on the black market.
Bonadio has said selling dollars below market rate cost the government about $5.2 billion, allowing buyers to make big profits on the transaction.
Fernández has denied any wrongdoing, saying she is the victim of political persecution.