Thursday, October 21, 2021

ARGENTINA | 15-05-2019 10:21

Former Kirchner accountant alleges presidential couple stole up to US$10 billion

The former accountant of ex-presidents Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was granted a plea bargain in March. His television appearance comes as rumours intensify about Fernández de Kirchner's intention to run for the presidency.

The Kirchner presidential couple stole approximately "US$ 10 billion", their former accountant Víctor Manzanares has claimed.

"I have been in jail for 20 months so my calculations could be off. But they stole some US$10 billion perhaps", Manzanares said Tuesday.

His comments comes as former president-cum-senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's chances of returning to the Pink House appear stronger by the day.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court stopped a trial going ahead next week into her government's alleged embezzlement of public funds otherwise destined to road works, demanding the lower court ruling over the case to demonstrate it has enough evidence to try her.

Manzanares secured a plea bargain in the so-called Cuadernos (notebooks) investigation, which is based on photocopied documentation suggesting Kirchner government officials colluded with construction sector bosses to steal millions of dollars in public works funds.

"Figure out the maths yourselves. It's scary", Manzanares told journalist Nicolás Wiñazki.

On Monday, the former accountant to the presidential couple alleged he had once moved suitcases loaded with up to US$2 million on behalf of then president Néstor Kirchner.

"There were also funds in Buenos Aires. I can't give an exact amount. These are the mysteries of Argentina. They did business for themselves and their friends", he told Wiñazki.

"The times I was acting as a chauffer to Muñoz (Néstor Kirchner's former secretary), we would go to an office on Kirchner Avenue at 952 (in Rio Gallegos), where there was a metal closet, like a gun cabinet. And there was also a security box which I never saw, which was covered by furniture in that office", he claimed.

Manzanares had even kept up to "20 and 30 million dollars" in his home, he alleged.

Expressing his remorse, Manzanares described his association with the Kirchners in alleged illegal activity as "the worst decision of my life".

"Those assets should go back to the State because they were acquired through corruption", he insisted.

"I will have to pay my price, which I am, and will do for life", Manzanares concluded.


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