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Lack of resources, endless expertise and the coronavirus: the thousand and one reasons that delayed the trials against Cristina


The vice president has eight cases brought to trial, six of which are for corruption. One started the hearings a year ago. But that and they are all detained.

Lucia Salinas

06/02/2020 - 16:57

  • Clarí
  • Politics

The reasons are varied, some of an administrative nature, others more striking. In recent weeks, there are circumstances linked to the Covid pandemic19. But they all came together for the same effect: delaying the trials of Cristina Kirchner in federal justice. Not only the case whose hearings began on May 21, 2019, but also the files that were moving towards the instance of setting a start date. Everything is stopped.

The Vice President of the Nation accumulates eight files submitted to oral trial , six of which are for corruption cases . However, only one of those files began with the trial process: the case for the alleged direction of public works in favor of Lázaro Báez. With contractor K he shares at least two more investigations, but for the crime of money laundering.

The pandemic exposed the structural and technological crisis that the Judicial Power is undergoing, which to guarantee its operation has already reported that it requires a financial bailout of the State of 16,000 million pesos until the end of the year. With the numbers in red, at this time of extraordinary fair, the Council of the Magistracy is working on the operation of a platform to be able to advance in the trials online. There are no details on the deadlines.

Against this background, the different cases where Cristina Kirchner must be tried are at different stages but in the same situation: detainees. Case by case, the factors were dissimilar and in some cases the delay dragged years ago by the assigned Courts.

Los Sauces and Hotesur

For two months, these causes, where the Kirchner family companies were investigated for operations to launder 120 million pesos, remain frozen due to Covid19. They are in different stages, but with a delay generated longer.

In October 2018, the first of the cases sent to trial was Los Sauces, the real estate agency whose main tenants were Lázaro Báez and Cristóbal López. It was filed in TOF 5, it took several months for the stage of offering evidence to open, for the accused parties, the complaints and the prosecution to suggest measures prior to the start of the hearings and to propose witnesses.

When that was going to start, in February 2019 the Hotesur case was sent to trial. It is the cause where the Kirchners and Báez were accused of laundering money through the hotel business.

Then the first delay occurred: two different courts had the cases with 12 shared defendants, the same maneuver and a structure "that worked with a modus operandi, " prosecutors said. After several jerks, everything was left in TOF 5.

Later, with Hotesur there was another problem: there was no space for the more than 30 boxes with documentation collected during the instruction. It took weeks with the separate file in Comodoro Py's offices and flats, until a room in the Libertad Building was obtained, in front of the courts.

In this case, accounting expertise was ordered, but not in Los Sauces, which was more behind. Organizing a joint trial with two files with different advances took even longer to plan a start date. While the experts began the work at the hotel firm, it was only many months later that the TOF 5 ordered an expertise on the real estate . Until all that is done, no start date will be set. 

Addressing public works

In February of last year, when the trial was about to begin, one of the members of Tribunal 2 died, and this led to the draw for a new appointment to replace him. After the TOF was established again, the start date was run once again, since an expertise requested by the former President, Julio De Vido and Lázaro Báez was expected to determine whether or not there were price premiums.

It was finally set for May 21. Two days prior to this and surprisingly, the Supreme Court requested the entire file. Then the beginning of the hearings was jeopardized, because the Court had to send the file to the Court since there were at least eight claims from different defendants - including Cristina Kirchner - that had to be resolved. After a great scandal over the unexpected move, the case returned to the Court and the trial began. A year later, the Court did not resolve any of those complaints.

As soon as the trial began, on May 21,  there were 51 pleas for annulment and other claims that aimed at postponing the hearings . It did not happen. And it was advanced until this year, when the health emergency was declared and the extraordinary fair began. The courts - par excellence with face-to-face tasks -  analyze how to resume trials remotely.

The Council of the Judiciary reported that it is not possible at the moment, but that a platform is being worked to guarantee security during the trials and stability in the system that will demand at least 50 people connected. However, now Báez and other defendants opposed to following the trial virtually.

Future dollar

It was the first case against Cristina Kirchner sent to oral trial. This happened in 2017. Since then, based on TOF 1, the case did not move for a long time , among other things due to several requests for nullity that were resolved. It was last year when the offering of evidence began and there Alejandro Vanoli - former head of the Securities Commission and recently fired from the management of Anses - required an expertise to determine, among other things, whether there was harm against the State which is attributed to all the accused. 

With several former officials prosecuted for fraudulent administration , the indictment indicates that on instructions from the National Executive Power, the Central Bank authorities "sold in a short period a significant volume of future dollar contracts at fictitious values, abusively forcing the entity to generate serious prejudice to the state coffers. " The damage was 55,000 million pesos, according to the accusation.

The expertise required by Vanoli started, but was also interrupted by the coronavirus. Last week, at the request of prosecutor Diego Velasco, TOF 1 enabled the fair for experts to advance in the case. The members of the specialized corps reported that the expert report is in an "important state of progress", but that due to social isolation they are prevented from meeting.

Notebooks of bribes

It is one of the largest cases, with more than 170 prosecuted. But in the main body, since six other cases emerged from it, it has 52 defendants and the main one is Cristina Kirchner, indicated as head of the illicit association that was dedicated to raising illegal funds.

TOF 8 is responsible for carrying out the trial. To date, a large number of claims are being answered by the defendants, mainly related to the embargoes that are locked - which in some cases exceed 3,000 million pesos - along with property inhibitions.

The evidence offer stage has not yet opened , and much of the documentation was kept in containers outside Comodoro Py due to lack of space. Another factor is the lack of resources. That generates delay in progress , according to judicial sources.

Pact with Iran

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with Iran is another of the cases brought to trial against Cristina Kirchner, accused of aggravated cover - up by the Iranians who were held responsible for the attack on the AMIA headquarters. The TOF 8 received the file in 2018, and since then has been involved in the defendants' claims, the request for more personnel that the Court made to the Court - pending - and, in recent weeks, the presentation of Carlos Zannini to annul the trial.

Source: clarin

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