Cristina Kirchner is one step away from obtaining the dismissal in the case known as the K Money Route, after the opinion of the prosecutor Guillermo Marijuan according to which he failed to find any evidence that determines the direct intervention by the vice president in the laundering operations for 55 million dollars headed by Lázaro Báez. However, she will continue to be investigated in another file where she is accused of laundering operations and in which it is sought to determine whether her former business partner acquired 1,420 movable and immovable property in a personal capacity or as a front man.
"Everything I had is from a single person who is upstairs and gave it to me to administer, and I did not know how to administer it perhaps in the proper way that he wanted me to administer it," Lázaro Báez said in 2019 during a conversation he had from prison with one of his lawyers. The suggestive comment was requested by Marijuan and by the Financial Information Unit (UIF) macrista in the framework of a cause that emerged from the K Money Route, where itinvestigates businessman K and Cristina Kirchner.
Federal Judge Sebastián Casanello and the prosecutor have under analysis a series of commercial exchanges, purchases and sales of real estate among other transactions that link the Báez and the Kirchners. In this file, businessman K sentenced to ten years in prison is charged, like the vice president, with the crime of money laundering.
As it is a fact of alleged laundering operations linked to the large assets of the owner of Grupo Austral, it is investigated individually. Thus, judicial sources explained to Clarín: "the request for dismissal in the main file does not affect anything," since it is constituted as a separate file "where there are measures in progress and the figure of the possible prestanombre is still being investigated."
Let's remember: while Báez's flagship firm, Austral Construcciones, received road tenders from the Kirchner government, part of those funds it collected were turned over to laundering maneuvers. These included the compulsory purchase of property and various goods: 1,412 in eight different districts.
A large part of these purchases of houses, land and businesses were made with Austral Construcciones, and many were made with the Kirchner family.
While Austral prevailed in every bid that was presented, Baez's firm paid the former presidents 40 million pesos only in rent. In addition, he exchanged a land valued at 14.7 million pesos with the vice president and bought ten properties for 2 million dollars.
For those exchanges, the vice president's lawyer had another definition: "They were not returns, they were private businesses." The judges who convicted the vice president of corruption in the Vialidad case rejected that premise.
The volume of evidence regarding the commercial agreements "is really immense," the judges evaluated, adding that the "varied agreements that united Báez and Fernández de Kirchner (real estate purchases, trusts for constructions, swaps, monetary loans)," made possible "the profit that Fernández de Kirchner obtained thanks to Báez is more than enough to explain the assembly of such a fraudulent operation."
In other words, prosecutor Marijuan said that the links between the vice president and her former business partner are "undeniable" and that they transcend mere knowledge but that there were crossed interests and a large number of shared businesses. However, that could not corroborate that there was an order or a direct intervention of Cristina Kirchner in the laundering maneuvers that allowed Austral Construcciones to launder 55 million dollars between 2010 and 2013.
In that same period is that Baez increased his assets by 12,000%, according to the reports incorporated into the case.
For this reason, the Asset Recovery area, dependent on the Attorney General's Office, was required to determine the amount of links between Cristina Kirchner and Lázaro Báez with respect to the patrimonial heritage.
The last report incorporated expanded to ten the operations that the Kirchners celebrated with Báez. The survey shows that between 2004 and 2013 the owner of the Austral group paid 77,220,993 pesos to buy those 217 properties. From that universe of operations, it paid 135 properties in cash.
From that number can be made another disaggregate: 17 operations were made in dollars and payments were in cash, when strict restrictions on US currencies were in force.
The report also shows that ten properties that are part of the patrimony of Lázaro Báez were owned by Néstor and Cristina Kirchner, integrated the joint assets of the former presidential marriage.
For these ten operations in which Lázaro Báez bought properties from the former presidents, always represented by Máximo Kirchner, he paid according to the deeds, a total of 6,741,300 pesos. If the then-official exchange rate is taken, the public works contractor paid its former business partners $1,916,013.
The prosecution analyzes another aspect of this report: nine of the properties were bought by Austral Construcciones. In 2008, Néstor and Cristina Kirchner sold six properties (four on the same day, June 19) to the company that by then had already been awarded more than 30 road contracts.
Those first six sales to Austral were made $ 5,249,500 (1,512,824 dollars). The payments were half in cash, another with a check and the last through a swap. It is the land of 87,000 square meters in El Calafate that Baez had in condominium with the former President and that was valued at 14.7 million pesos.
In 2008, when the Kirchners sold six properties to Austral Construcciones, and only as advances for works, the government paid Báez 83 million pesos. That same year, the contractor bought four ranches for 147 million pesos. "Here there was a clear conflict of interest, the former presidents sold properties to the supplier of the State," said sources of the cause.
That same year, Néstor Kirchner bought the Las Dunas inn from Báez for $700,000. Then he ceded to the firm Kank y Costilla (builder of the holding) the exploitation of that tourist complex.
That money that Baez paid them for the real estate also contributed to the fact that in 2008 the former presidents poured 8.5 million dollars into the purchase of the Hotesur company, owner of the Alto Calafate hotel. Months later, they gave the administration of it to the firm Valle Mitre, of Báez.
In 2009, four other properties belonging to the Kirchners were sold to Baez. That year the construction company already accumulated about 40 tenders and in financial advances the Kirchner government paid 131 million pesos, while Lázaro Báez paid the former presidents for four properties $ 1,491,800 (U$S 403,189).
In that same period, Báez added three stays to his estate in which he invested $ 21 million.
The progress of the case
The question that justice now seeks to answer is whether all those assets "were acquired as a loaner of the former presidents, if contractor K acted as an "interposed person", that is, as a figurehead of the Kirchner family.
The Justice determined that the fortune of Baez in assets registered and detected by the prosecution amounts to $ 205,134,525. The Macrista UIF remarked that "they were acquired with money diverted from the state coffers through maneuvers of irregular allocation of public works, being Lázaro Báez, front man of the Kirchner marriage."
The heritage of Báez consists of land, houses, apartments, garages, hotels, companies, ranches, commercial premises, service stations, sheds, buildings, airplanes, vehicles and road machinery. The properties are distributed in ten locations in Santa Cruz, also in the provinces of Chubut, Buenos Aires, Río Negro, Tierra del Fuego, Chaco and Santiago del Estero, as well as Capital Federal. In addition, 972 vehicles and road machinery belonging to Austral Construcciones were counted.
Horacio Rodríguez Larreta joined the criticism against prosecutor Guillermo Marijuan for the ruling that benefited Cristina Kirchner