Aug 13, 2018

Jilted lover rocks Argentina's politics

Kirchner leaves court today. Photo: Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images

Former Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner testified in court yesterday in relation to the biggest corruption scandal uncovered in years in her country, which could land her in prison.

Why it matters: Kirchner is accused of leading a criminal enterprise to steal hundreds of millions from public infrastructure contracts. She's the latest big name in Latin American politics to be implicated in a kickback scandal.

  • The scandal was exposed when Hilda Horowitz, the former lover of a driver tasked with transporting bags of cash from bribes paid by construction companies, told a judge about the operation after a sour break up.
  • The driver, Oscar Centeno, filled notebooks for years with details of every trip to pick up the money, which would eventually end up in the hands of people close to former president Néstor Kirchner, Kirchner’s deceased husband and predecessor.
  • The notebooks arrived secretly to the newsroom of La Nación, one of Argentina’s biggest newspapers, which confirmed the whole operation. Since then, most of the construction moguls involved have agreed to cooperate, hoping for lighter sentences.

Their information has exposed a massive operation where companies would fix public biddings with the government, charge far above market value, and illegally pay back a portion to public officials as bribes and for campaign funding.

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