In another judicial setback for the vice-president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was notified Thursday of a Cassation Court hearing calling for the trial investigating presumed money-laundering at her family’s Hotesur/Los Sauces hotel chain to be reopened.
The charges were pressed on Tuesday by prosecutor Mario Villar, who requested that last year’s decision by the TOF (Tribunal Oral Federal) 5 court to acquit the defendants without bringing the case to trial be overturned.
"There are some very grave facts involving public officials and the prosecution was deprived of representing society in an oral trial," wrote Villar in a technical presentation detailing the alleged money-laundering. It was impossible to determine “who is innocent and who is guilty” without a trial, he insisted.
According to the prosecutor, the court acquitting Fernández de Kirchner misinterpreted the law and also misunderstood the illicit association charges against the vice-president. Villar called last November’s ruling to bar the prosecution from presenting evidence "arbitrary,” alleging that it was designed to relieve the situation of the ex-president.
The next hearing will be on November 22 when Fernández de Kirchner’s lawyers will make their case and the judges will define whether or not to reopen the trial. The former president and her children may also speak.
The money-laundering charges are based on the rental of rooms in the Hotesur and Los Sauces hotels by Kirchnerite-allied business tycoons Lázaro Báez, Cristóbal López and Fabián De Souza (all co-defendants in the case) as presumed kickbacks for public works favours.
According to reports, the Cassation Court judges are not only mulling reopening this trial but the one investigating the Memorandum of Understanding with Iran at the request of the families of the 85 victims of the 1994 terrorist bomb destruction of the AMIA Jewish community centre as well as the DAIA Jewish association umbrella.
At the same time TOF2 is trying highway contract corruption in Santa Cruz where Diego Luciani is the prosecutor, calling for the vice-president to be sentenced to 12 years in prison with a lifelong ban from public office, but it is not clear whether the verdict will come late this year or early in 2023.