Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, vice president of Argentina Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, vice president of Argentina 

Court finds vice-president of Argentina guilty of fraud

Argentina’s Vice President, Cristina Fernandez, has been convicted of fraud, sentenced to six years in prison, and banned for life from public office.

By James Blears

The scheme for which Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has been convicted is a fraud involving embezzling money from public works, during her 2007-2015 Presidency of Argentina. Prosecutors argued she had manipulated fifty-one public works benefitting herself and a construction company owned by Lazaro Baez, a friend of her late husband Nestor, who was President of Argentina from 2002-2007. Baez has also been sentenced to six years in jail. Fernandez was found not guilty of leading a criminal organization, which could have meant a twelve-year jail term.

Fernandez, who has denied all of the charges, insists it is all lies and slander, and says the process was politically motivated. She says the verdict was delivered by a judicial mafia. Argentina’s current President Alberto Fernandez, who has the same name but is not related, says Cristina Fernandez is innocent and that the trial wasn’t conducted with due process.  The inevitable appeal will go to the Supreme Court and the proceedings could drag on and drag out for years.

The vice president's supporters are now vowing to bring the country to a total standstill with a nationwide strike. Meanwhile, 69-year-old Cristina Fernandez - who in September survived an assassination attempt when a gun was pointed at her head, but jammed - says she will call it a day and completely bow out of politics when her vice-presidential term expires on 10 December next year. After that, she says, she wants to go home.

Listen to James Blears' report

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07 December 2022, 16:11