A court in Argentina on Tuesday sentenced the country’s vice president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, to six years in prison and disqualified her from holding public office again after finding her guilty of corruption during her earlier terms as President.
Fernández de Kirchner has temporary immunity due to her current role so will not immediately go to jail, and can appeal. Following the verdict, she denied the allegations against her but said she will not run for reelection next year.
“I will not be a candidate for anything, neither for president nor for senator,” she said. “My name will not be on any ballot.”
In court, Argentina’s federal Prosecutor’s Office accused her of conspiring with other government officials to award contracts worth millions of dollars for road works that, according to the complaint, were incomplete, overpriced and unnecessary.
“In essence, they show the existence of links promiscuous and corrupt among public administration officials (national and provincial) and state contractor companies,” according to a document released by Argentina’s federal court in Buenos Aires.
Fernández de Kirchner was found guilty of “fraudulent administration” for distributing public funds to a construction company for road works in the province of Santa Cruz, during her presidential terms from 2007 to 2011 and 2011 to 2015.
The deals with the construction company of Lázaro Antonio Báez – a family friend – were for the benefit of Fernández de Kirchner and Baez, the court said.
The former President awarded “80% of the national public road works in Santa Cruz in favor of Báez companies between 2003 and 2015,” according to Telam, Argentina’s state-run news agency.
Baez was also sentenced to six years in prison, as were former secretary of public works, José López, and the former director of national roads, Néstor Periotti, for their involvement in the alleged scheme.
Lopez and Periotti have also been disqualified from holding public office again, Telam reported.