By reporter Fernando de Castro in Brazil
Argentina’s vice-president, Cristina Fernandéz de Kirchner, has been sentenced to six years in prison and banned from public office for life. The court issued the decision this Tuesday (6).
Kirchner was found guilty of fraudulent administration during her earlier terms as President of the country, from 2007 to 2015.
The country’s federal Prosecutor’s Office concluded that the former president organized a corruption scheme that distributed public funds to a construction company for road works, which were, according to the complaint, overpriced and unnecessary.
The investigation discovered millionaire contracts arranged between the vice president and an old family friend, Lázaro Báez, regarding the province of Santa Cruz, where she and her late husband, Néstor Kirchner, developed their political careers.
According to the prosecution, Báez started a company to embezzle revenues through false bidding processes. The constructor was convicted of money laundering and sentenced to six years in jail.
Fernández de Kirchner denied the allegations and claimed that the entire case was politically motivated. The defense said that the prosecutors didn’t gather any evidence connecting her to the corruption deal, which favored Báez’s company.
After the sentence was passed, supporters of the vice-president organized violent protests around the court.
Despite the sentence, Kirchner is unlikely to serve jail time, due to the immunity her current role provides, as head of the senate. The Constitution prevents the imprisonment unless she’s condemned in an impeachment process.
Moreover, the defense can also appeal to higher courts or apply for Presidential Pardon.
*Lívia Valente collaborated on this article.