Indictment seen as imminent
Núñez Carmona goes before judge but refuses to answer questions
The third time was indeed the charm for summoning Vice-President Amado Boudou’s childhood friend and associate José María Núñez Carmona, who yesterday finally appeared before Federal Judge Ariel Lijo after twice-postponing the encounter.
Sources linked to the case strongly believe that it is only a matter of time before Núñez Carmona is indicted.
Although he did not answer any of the questions about the sale of Ciccone Calcográfica mint company, Núñez Carmona expressed his willingness to be questioned as soon as his new lawyers finish reading the case file.
Lijo, who has to question another suspect tomorrow, is now able to either discontinue the legal investigation or indict Núñez Carmona for the role he allegedly played in lifting the bankruptcy of the company that prints the country’s peso notes.
Back and forth
Núñez Carmona was first scheduled to appear before Judge Lijo on June 10, a day after the vice-president delivered a long monologue in court. Núñez Carmona requested the magistrate postpone the hearing and on June 19 he did not show up in court. Núñez Carmona had to appoint two new lawyers, Ramiro and Darío Rubinska, because Diego Pirota and Eduardo Durañona, who are representing Boudou, dropped his defence.
This time Núñez Carmona was aware that he had no other option but to appear before Judge Lijo. Along with his lawyers, Boudou’s friend arrived at the courthouse at 10.40am, 20 minutes before he was scheduled to appear. He submitted a two-page writ saying that he was willing to answer questions as soon as his lawyers read the whole file, which is why he refused to answer questions from the judge and prosecutor Jorge Di Lello.
Whereas Lijo believes that Boudou and Núnez Carmona used The Old Fund — lawyer Alejandro Vandenbroele’s company — to seize Ciccone Calcográfica, Di Lello accuses Boudou of negotiations that are incompatible with public office.
Sources told the Herald that Núñez Carmona looked calm while he listened to the charges, telling the court officials who were present in the room that he categorically denied the allegations against him, while also trying to explain why he had filed the writ. Though he answered no questions, Núñez Carmona told Judge Lijo that he was available to attend court in the future.
Núñez Carmona will likely seek to expand on his statement next time — just as Vice-President Boudou had also indicated he would do on June 9, after more than seven hours before Judge Lijo. On that occasion, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s number two said that in a second appearance before the magistrate he would focus on the political grounds of his summons.
“If he wants to expand on his statement, the judge cannot refuse,” a source explained to the Herald.
The final step
Tomorrow will be Guido Forcieri’s turn to appear before Judge Lijo. Forcieri was Boudou’s Cabinet chief at the Economy Ministry while it was discussing Ciccone Calcográfica’s financial situation. Forcieri’s name emerged when former AFIP tax bureau official Rafael Resnick Brenner told Judge Lijo that Forcieri took part in meetings to discuss a payment plan to benefit the printing company founded in 1951 by Nicolás Ciccone. Resnick Brenner said that Forcieri was the person who told him that Núñez Carmona was going to represent the Economy Ministry in the meeting, despite not being an official there.
Focieri is currently the country’s representative at the World Bank and is required to leave Washington to deliver his testimony before Lijo. Forcieri’s lawyer, Pablo Slominski, told the Herald that his client was willing to testify. But he also said that due to the ongoing negotiations with holdout creditors, it may not be the right time for him to leave the US.