Former Federal Planning minister Julio De Vido was acquitted last Wednesday in a case probing the illegal entry of a suitcase containing US$800,000, allegedly sent from Venezuela by the Hugo Chávez government as a contribution to the presidential campaign of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in 2007.
The three judges of the Tribunal Oral en lo Penal Económico court also acquitted former AFIP tax bureau chief Ricardo Echegaray in the same case.
Former Vialidad highway board director Claudio Uberti was less fortunate, being sentenced to 54 months in prison for "attempted contraband" but he will not have to go behind bars until all avenues of appeal have been exhausted, informed the Télam state news agency.
The trial began on March 8, 16 years after the event. The scandal shook Argentina and Venezuela at the time.
The money was transported to Argentina in August, 2007 by the businessman Guido Antonini Wilson, who held double Venezuelan and United States nationality, and was discovered at the airport by a Customs officer
Antonini Wilson was travelling in a charter flight contracted by the Argentine state together with the Venezuelans Diego Uzcátegui Matheus, who headed the Argentine branch of the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, and his son Daniel.
Since then, Antonini Wilson has been living in the United States where he has entered a witness protection programme. In his flight to Buenos Aires he was accompanied by Uberti, who was obliged to resign as a result of the scandal.
"I had nothing to do it with it, everything is rumour," insisted Uberti in a statement prior to the sentence.