If there is a scene of Kirchnerist corruption that competes hand in hand with José López’s flying bags, it is that of Lázaro Báez’s children counting and stacking wads of dollars in a cave in Puerto Madero, La Rosadita. It is an image from 10 years ago that can return soon, this very Tuesday, and powerful.
The Court has on its agenda to reject unanimously the appeals presented by Cristina to lower one of the causes that most concern him: the monumental negotiated with public works in Santa Cruz. A central protagonist in that story is Báez, who, thanks to the Kirchners, went from a low-level bank employee to a multimillionaire state contractor.
It is proven that Báez concentrated on Austral Construcciones, which he founded just a month before Kirchner’s arrival in government, around 90% of the public works that went from National Roads to Provincial Roads and from there, without stops, to the Báez company, winner of almost all the tenders. When he didn’t win them, he associated with the winner. No one ever got such an award.
It is also proven that Báez billed with a average markup of 60% and that he received advances for work that he never finished. Authentic Kirchnerism. He has already been sentenced to 12 years in prison in another case, the K money route. In this case, he has been prosecuted for illicit association together with Cristina and key officials of his government such as López and De Vido and the heads of National and Provincial Roads .
The case is full of details that are much more than details because in more ways than one they show the entrails of power and corruption. It is in the public works business that the Kirchners are best known. You really know them. In the entire history of National Roads there is only one manager appointed by presidential decree. He’s Sergio Pasacantando, named after García Márquez’s character and whom Kirchner appointed as administration manager, that is, in charge of the savings bank and under the orders of José López. He had no limits.
Before arriving there, Pasacantando had been the right-hand man of financier Ernesto Clarens in Invernes SA (Inversiones Néstor Kirchner, they said what the acronym means). Clarens kept the accounts for Baez; He is one of the repentant in the cause of the bribery notebooks and an essential piece in the money laundering model of corruption. He is being tried in parallel.
Other details that are not details: the Kirchners kept the former mayor of Río Turbio, Nelson Perotti, as head of National Highway Administration for 12 years of their governments and when they quarreled with Governor Peralta, They took away from Provincial Roads the management of silverwhich came directly from Buenos Aires to Báez.
Determined to disqualify the investigation, Cristina tried in court to lower the case with a pile of resources, the specialty of his lawyer Beraldi, also a lawyer for Cristóbal López in the legal labyrinths of the king of slot machines. The effort is above all visible in three arguments. One: that the crime has already been tried in Santa Cruz, where, obviously, Báez was acquitted. Two: that a court of appeal intervened instead of the one that should have done so. And three: that although the data collected by the judge and the prosecutor passed the accuracy test, it is necessary extend the expertise to all the works questioned. In other words, an endless expert report. The Court now intends to unblock these objections about the trial, which has just finished with the part of the testimonies and hopes that the July 11 begin the arguments of the prosecution and defense.
In addition to the one negotiated with the road works, Cristina is cornered by Hotesur and Los Sauces. She is a unified cause. Hotesur is the money laundering in two hotels owned by the Kirchner couple in El Calafate. The formula repeats a part of what we have told: adjudication of public works with bribes and surcharges, in this case laundered with the rental of rooms that were never occupied. Phantom occupancy hotels.
Who was the beneficiary of these works and the one who rented without occupying? He was right: Lázaro Báez, the champion of public works. Of that money are the almost 4.6 million dollars found to Cristina’s daughter in a safe.
Los Sauces is the name of one of the Kirchner’s hotels and also of a case that encompasses 29 properties. 86% of the bills were paid by Báez and Cristóbal López, the other major financier of Kirchnerism. Since she took over as vice, Cristina managed to knock down several files. The most important of those that he managed to remove was that of Hotesur and Los Sauces, which involves his children.
A huge scandal: it was dismissed without trial. There acted a judge with whom Cristina you should be grateful for life: Daniel Obligado, the same one who managed to sneak Amado Boudou among the prisoners released in a pandemic. You have to let him go because her wife is having a bad time and he has to be with her. That’s what he said. And that says what kind of judge he is.
He was helped by Judge Adrián Grünberg, of Legitimate Justice, who saved Cristina at full gallop, before his substitution expired in court. Grünberg had already given another great joy to the vice, giving you back control of the hotels and properties.
It is not uncommon for these strange things to happen in Justice. The dismissal without trial, more than it seems, becomes fashionable in Cristina’s cases. Hotesur is a money laundering manual. Criminal where you look at it. But the argument of Obligado and Grünberg, which seems to have been written by Beraldi, is that for him to have laundered there must be a prior offense with a conviction. In this tangle, very similar to the Kirchner’s business tangle, luck can change, however, for the vice president. In Cassation, it could be ordered to reopen the file.
As if anticipating that on Tuesday the Court will reject Cristina’s dilatory proposals, Kirchnerism opened this week one umbrella after another. One, which is another painting of how these things are handled here, was the resignation of the Anti-Corruption Office to be a plaintiff in the case. An institutional piece of paper.
Another sign. Cristina’s lawyer and unofficial spokesperson, Graciana Peñafort, General Director of Legal Affairs of the Presidency of the Senate, has just attacked Judge Horacio Rosatti, with this sentence: “He is becoming what we never thought he would be: a bad judge ”. In other words: he is not doing what they wanted him to do.
Before, he had crossed judge Rosenkrantz, vice president of the Court, who was also targeted by Hugo Yasky, general secretary of the CTA, dusting off an old question that the judge denied more than once. Yasky said: “Clearly Rosenkrantz represents the economic and financial power groups in the country. He is a general of economic power in the trench of justice”. That was part of a larger operation. The uncoveringwhere the judge is said to have signed 25 rulings involving former clients of his. Nothing by chance, Cristina will speak tomorrow at the CTA.
In 20 days the allegations will come, with their obvious noise in society and perhaps before the end of the year the verdict on Cristina will come out from the judges Rodrigo Giménez Uriburu, Jorge Gorini and Andrés Basso. By weight of evidence, could not be superseded.
In front of those same judges, Cristina had already spoken for three and a half hours in her role as elected vice president in the first days of December 2019. She wanted such a speech to be televised. More than a legal argument, she sought a political one that would influence the rest of the cases against her. Those were times when she trusted that, with Alberto Fernández, they could twist in their favor the will of any judge whatever the cause and the crimes investigated.
In that hearing, admonishing and squeezing the three judges, Cristina appealed, adjusting it to her liking, to a famous phrase that Fidel Castro used in 1953 to justify the revolution: “history will absolve me.” And Cristina, after telling the judges that they should be the ones answering questions and not her, judged herself and said: “History has already acquitted me.” That’s something that she can not decree. And much less, now.