Prosecutor Diego Luciani maintained this Monday that there is “enormous relevant evidence” to formulate accusation in the trial for alleged crimes with public works in Santa Cruz between 2003 and 2015, period in which he affirmed that an “illicit association” was operating, headed by those who “performed as heads of state.”
The trial that follows the Vice President and twelve other defendants for the alleged direction of national public works in Santa Cruz in favor of the businessman Lázaro Báez, it resumed after 8:30 am with the beginning of the tax argument.
“This Public Prosecutor’s Office is accredited that, between 2003 and 2015, an illicit pyramidal association with unique characteristics operated within the State” and that it had “at the top those who served as heads of state and made up of different public officials,” argued the prosecutor.
Luciani said that in the trial there is a “huge relevant evidence” on which he will base his accusations and added that he will present it in successive hearings before the Federal Oral Court 2.
The members of TOF 2, Jorge Gorini, Andrés Basso and Rodrigo Giménez Uriburu, have already received an acquittal claim for lack of evidence from the Financial Information Unit (FIU), whose representatives at the trial argued that there are no elements to advance in the accusation and pointed out inconsistencies in the skills.
For Luciani, on the contrary, “Néstor Kirchner and then his wife Cristina Elizabeth Fernández installed one of the most extraordinary corruption matrixes that unfortunately and sadly have been installed in the country”with “absolute absence” of controls, as stated.
The prosecutor began his argument with a criticism of the FIU’s complaint and assessed that “we cannot help but classify their work as reckless, unserious and even irresponsible”, alluding to the body’s decision not to accuse and request acquittals by association. illicit and public fraud.
In addition, the prosecutor stated that Báez was a “monotax” bank employee and founded the company “Austral Construcciones” days before the swearing-in of the late Néstor Kirchner as President of the Nation.
“There was a stable structure that allowed the appropriation of funds,” said in relation to the fact that according to his interpretation the Báez companies were an “empty shell”
“A road company was created and a structure was set up that systematically allowed acts of corruption,” with “public tenders that were not real, they were fictitious. Behind Lázaro Báez there was a corrupt state structure,” he added.
Austral Construcciones “was not a real company, but an instrument”, he considered and remarked that Báez did not have “experience in road construction” and in a few years consolidated “a conglomerate of companies” in Santa Cruz.
The “purpose of the association consisted of extracting funds from the State for a private benefit and from third parties”said.
In the allegation, the prosecutor mentioned a statement by President Alberto Fernández, summoned as a witness in the trial at the request of the Vice President’s defense, with which he tried to demonstrate the link between the accused Lázaro Báez and former President Néstor Kirchner.
“Dr. Alberto Fernández himself corroborated that close relationship in his testimonial statement by stating that Lázaro Báez was introduced to him by Néstor Kirchner, in the year 2003-2004, in Calafate, in circumstances in which Néstor accompanied him, who was finishing his house and Lázaro Báez was there in the park,” he interpreted on that statement.
In addition, Luciani showed expert reports on the cell phone of former Secretary of Public Works José López, kidnapped in June 2016 when he was arrested trying to hide bags with dollars in a General Rodríguez convent.
He specifically alluded to a message from López requesting a meeting with Mendoza in November 2015 and other communications through the WhatsApp messaging system referring to alleged efforts to meet with the then President.
The trial restarted after the winter judicial fair with all the defendants, including the Vice President, lawyers, lawsuit and prosecution connected through the Zoom platform and the judges present in the courtroom of Comodoro Py 2002.
After the winter judicial recess, the prosecution is expected to expose in principle throughout nine hearings and then it will be the turn of the defense lawyers.
The request of the FIU
On the last day prior to the judicial fair that began on July 18, the FIU had requested the acquittal due to lack of evidence of the 13 defendants, ruling out the existence of overpricing in public road works that were awarded in that period to companies of the also accused Báez.
The organism had considered “irresponsible to advance in the accusation” for the crimes of fraudulent administration and illicit association, raised inconsistencies in the expertise and demanded acquittals.
The Anti-Corruption Office (OA) was a complainant, but desisted from that role and from presenting an accusationfor which after the presentation of the prosecution will come the turn of the defenses.
When giving an investigative statement at the beginning of the debate, and when it was still in person, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner denied her responsibility in the case, maintaining that “it was a plan devised by the outgoing government” of Mauricio Macri and that the case “is part of lawfare “.