Cristina Fernandez Scandal: She Says Newspapers Are Defaming Her

Image: Cristina Fernandez Scandal: She Says Newspapers Are Defaming Her

Thursday, 19 Dec 2013 03:16 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Argentine President Cristina Fernandez is fighting back against scandal allegations, calling the country's leading newspapers liars and saying they are defaming her "in the best style of fascism."

The newspaper La Nacion has reported that Lazaro Baez, a business partner of Fernandez and her late husband Nestor Kirchner, may have kicked back taxpayer money back to the president and her husband in the forms of rent payment for rooms at the couple's hotel, according to The Associated Press.

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The investigative articles say that Baez paid for one-third of rooms at the Kirchners' hotel, regardless of whether they were ever used, providing a steady stream of income for the president's business. La Nacion articles reported that the state-controlled airline Aerolineas Argentinas reserved another third of the rooms at same hotels.

Oscar Parilli, the presidential secretary, recently delivered a harsh attack on the reports via Argentine television.

"The false reports by the daily La Nacion, later repeated incessantly once again by Clarin ... try to put in doubt the legitimacy, legality and honesty of the private economic acts of the presidents Nestor Carlos Kirchner and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner," Parilli said in a television statement.

This is not the first time Fernandez and her husband, the country's former president who died in 2010, have been accused of corruption.

In May, the Argentine Independent reported that the television show Periodismo Para Todos (PPT), said that the Kirchners have played key roles in a money laundering network involving millions of dollars, using public development and infrastructure projects as fronts. As much as $500 million in public funds may have been embezzled.

An Argentine federal judge has been examining Baez and his government contracts for months in connection with money laundering, tax evasion, and illicit enrichment charges.

Judge Jose Maria Campagnoli was removed from the case when attorney general Alejandra Gils Carbo, a Fernandez appointee, called him abusive after ordering Baez to given sworn testimony in his case.

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