The explosive allegations stemming from the fast-paced pre-trial investigation into an alleged widespread graft ring involving high-ranking former officials of Néstor and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's presidencies and leading construction sector bosses has dominated headlines in Argentina this week.
Former president-cum-Senator Fernández de Kirchner has taken a defiant stance, downplaying the accusations as part of a conspiracy against her and her left-wing political movement. At least 13 men have secured plea bargains with Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio and prosecutor Carlos Stornelli, including former Kirchner officials Claudio Uberti and José López.
Little else penetrated the news cycle this week, despite the important visit of US Secretary of Defence James Mattis to Argentina and the Mauricio Macri government's announcement of a US$2.25-billion austerity package that has the agricultural sector, as well as provincial and municipal authorities, up in arms. In other economic news, the dollar continues rattling the Argentine peso, ending the week above 30 pesos, while the Central Bank began rolling back the short-term peso-denominated bond known as the Lebac.
It doesn't end there. Fermín Koop brings us a special report on the expansion of lithium extraction projects in Argentina and the environmental concerns surrounding the prospective boom in the sector. Agustino Fontevecchia has an exclusive interview with Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rosselló who, on his visit to Buenos Aires last week, talked up investment and growth opportunities on his island home, which was severely battered by two major hurricanes in 2017.
The death of writer V.S. Naipaul has columnist Robert Cox and Andrew Graham-Yooll reminiscing about a brilliant writer but a controversial man whose life journey included a peculiar obsession with Argentina. Michael Soltys returns to crunch the numbers in Argentina's ongoing economic 'turbulence', while James Neilson and Augustino Fontevecchia delve into corruption with a capital K with their take on the week's revealing court testimonies. And Daniel Edwards delivers his weekly sports piece, this time focussing on the future of the Argentine national football squad without star player Lionel Messi.
All in all, it’s another packed edition of the Buenos Aires Times. Find us this – and every – Saturday inside the Perfil newspaper.