Boudou hones in on strategy: blasts Lijo for ‘ignoring’ cash trail
A day after his seven-hour ordeal in court, Vice-President Amado Boudou yesterday opened up two fronts in the long-standing legal battle, first taking aim at Federal Judge Ariel Lijo for questioning him but not investigating the money trail that led to the purchase of the company formerly known as Ciccone Calcográfica, the mint company that prints the country’s peso notes.
More surprisingly, the vice-president also took ain atunnamed members of the government for leaking “off-the-record” information and for not being brave enough to express their criticism publicly.
Hours later, the vice-president stood alongside President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, and other key members of her Cabinet, at the inauguration of the Malvinas Museum at the former clandestine detention centre that operated at the infamous Navy Mechanics School (ESMA).
On Monday, Boudou made it clear that he was prepared for a long battle, and yesterday he confirmed as much.
Boudou’s attack of Judge Lijo was nothing new. Over the past few days, the vice-president has repeatedly accused the magistrate, who took office in 2004, of leading an investigation for political reasons. Boudou also accused Lijo of discussing his next steps in the probe against him with Clarín, La Nación and Infobae journalists.
After his long court appearance, there was not much left to be said for Boudou, who repeated what he had already told Lijo: that the judge must look into who provided the money to buy the mint company — founded in 1951 by Nicolás Ciccone. On Monday, Boudou said that he had requested an opportunity to expand on his statement before the judge to focus on the political reasons that he says motivated the probe.
“Lijo has spent a lot of time investigating a 200-peso receipt and he does not investigate the 50-million-peso trail. It’s surprising. Officials are being pilloried and not a single businessman is under investigation,” Boudou said in conversation with a radio station.
During his questioning, Boudou also directly slammed Raúl Moneta, a businessman.
“Mr. Moneta has provided millions of dollars in this case. Although cable TV and telephone bills are being investigated, his behaviour has never come under investigation,” Boudou told Judge Lijo.
On Monday, in a Salomonic resolution, the Federal Criminal Appeals Court reminded Judge Lijo to investigate the origin of the funds used to lift Ciccone Calcográfica’s bankruptcy and to study the financial capacities of the people and businesses linked to the controversial transaction. The minority vote issued by Eduardo Farah also requested Judge Lijo summon the head of Macro, a bank, Jorge Brito, former banker Moneta and the head of the AFIP tax bureau Ricardo Echegaray for questioning. That decision was welcomed by Boudou’s lawyers and helps his overall strategy.
Ciccone in the spotlight
What was not celebrated by Boudou’s lawyers was the Appeals Court’s refusal to declare null and void the testimonies delivered by Ciccone and his son-in-law Guillermo Reinwick, who were first regarded by the court as witnesses in the case and are now suspects.
Part of Boudou’s legal strategy is to discredit Nicolás Ciccone and his relatives, who accuse him of having seized the company. Boudou believes that Judge Lijo takes the Ciccone family’s narrative for granted.
“I am accused of taking over the Ciccone company, but in the case it says 100 percent of the company belongs to The Old Fund, which is in the hands of Reinwick.”
Boudou also said that Reinwick, who will appear tomorrow before Judge Lijo, jointly owns Osaka, a City restaurant, with dissident CGT umbrella union leader Luis Barrionuevo.
The vice-president also criticized Ciccone’s son-in-law, who had said he was threatened.
“They printed the tickets for the 1978 World Cup, so they were not afraid of making deals with a genocidal military government,” Boudou said.
Boudou also linked the Ciccone family with late businessman Alfredo Yabrán, who in the 1990s took over the company to print the country’s licence plates. For Boudou, Moneta had a similar role in 2010 to the one held by Yabrán more than a decade earlier.
The vice-president also accused the family of holding meetings with Fintech’s David Martínez and the Clarín Group’s José Aranda before sealing a deal with The Old Fund.
Boudou seemed to acknowledge yesterday there are internal rifts in the Kirchnerite administration, which have been deepened by his legal situation and months of rumours about his fate.
“Some people speak, and sometimes they tell lies. They are just carrying out political operations, trying to help themselves and not expressing the government’s opinion,” Boudou said yesterday in conversations with Continental radio station.
“Some are off-the-record machos. They speak off-the-record and not publicly,” Boudou complained.
Over the past few days, rumours indicated that several Kirchnerite leaders were not willing to support Boudou, as his legal situation could end up negatively affecting the administration.
Reports suggested that the Kirchnerite youth organization La Cámpora wanted him to step down. However, on Monday, a group of La Cámpora activists gathered outside the Comodoro Py Courthouse to express their support of the vice-president.
Boudou’s presence yesterday at a rally with President Fernández de Kirchner may also have helped dispel such claims.
Herald staff with Télam, DyN