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CFK’s chief-of-staff: no leave planned for Boudou

Vice-President Amado Boudou looks back as he enters the Comodoro Py courthouse in this June 9 photo.
National government accuses opposition leaders and media of lynching Boudou

The government is closing ranks around Vice-President Amado Boudou, who was indicted last month for bribery and negotiations incompatible with public office and could be indicted in another case by Judge Claudio Bonadío. President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s Chief-of-Staff Oscar Parrilli yesterday criticized opposition leaders who want Boudou to take leave, while Kirchnerite Senator Aníbal Fernández considered that the government’s number two was a victim of “internal politics.”

Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich’s appearance in the Senate scheduled for today was meanwhile postponed.

“It’s stupid to think that the meeting was re-scheduled for something other than the possible default,” Capitanich said. The opposition alleged that the Upper House of Congress, which is presided over by the vice-president, is at a standstill as a result of Boudou’s legal troubles.

Boudou was yesterday in charge of the Executive as the President was taking part in a Mercosur bloc summit in Venezuela. The vice-president has kept an extremely low-profile while in charge of the presidency. But he was not the only one.

Since Bodou was indicted in the Ciccone mint case by Federal Judge Ariel Lijo last month, top Kirchnerite officials have remained silent over his legal situation. Yesterday, Parrilli clearly said that the government is not analyzing any exit strategy for the vice-president.

“When opposition lawmakers ask for the vice-president’s leave, they are committing a terrible mistake because that situation is not considered in the Constitution,” Parrilli said in separate interviews with two radio stations. The president’s secretary also repeated that Boudou was the victim of political “lynching” by opposition media and lawmakers.

“It’s surprising that those senators involved in a bribery case to pass a law that made labour conditions more flexible are talking about an institutional crisis,” Parrilli added in reference to a scandal involving bribes paid to senators in April 2000 to vote in favour of a piece of legislation promoted by Fernando De la Rúa’s administration at the time. The scandal led to then vice-president Carlos “Chacho” Álvarez’s resignation. A law that allows lawmakers, judges and officials to be questioned in court was then passed to benefit legal investigations. In fact, Boudou was questioned by Lijo and Bonadío thanks to that legislation.

Parrilli attacked the law. “We shouldn’t forget that it was the president (Fernández de Kirchner) who opposed that bill, saying that it was an impunity deal to prevent those senators involved in the case from telling the truth,” he stated.

“It’s alarming that Boudou is being annihilated before a final verdict is delivered,” Parrilli said, adding that the Lower House of Congress rejected a move by the opposition to impeach Boudou. On July 3, the ruling Victory Front (FpV) outright rejected the seven impeachment requests against the vice-president for his alleged role in the Ciccone saga that were filed by opposition lawmakers.

Parrilli to some extent echoed Boudou, accusing daily newspapers Clarín and La Nación of being behind his legal problems. When Boudou was summoned by Lijo to be questioned as a suspect in the case involving the country’s most important printing company, the vice-president accused the judge of working hand-in-hand with those newspapers.

Regarding the case of the car with fake documents that is being examined by Judge Bonadío, Boudou’s legal strategy seems to be different. He attended the federal courthouse located on Comodoro Py avenue last Wednesday but only submitted a writ to the judge, dismissing the charges and blaming a group of consultants for the counterfeit documentation.

Boudou has not directly attacked Bonadío, one of the judges who has promoted several investigations against Kirchnerite officials. Bonadío is not on good terms with the national government. Earlier this year, Justice Secretary Julián Álvarez filed an impeachment request against him, in the Magistrates Council — the body in charge of the selection and removal of judges.

Lawyers Jacobo Grossman — Supreme Court Justice Eugenio Zaffaroni’s adviser — and Martín Magram represent Boudou in the case of the Honda car purchased by the vice-president in 1993 in the city of Mar del Plata. As he has questioned Boudou, Bonadío could now choose to indict him or drop the legal investigation. But sources linked to Boudou’s legal team told the Herald that they do not think a resolution is going to be issued promptly. “Bonadío questioned Agustina Seguín, Boudou’s former girlfriend who used to drive the car, months ago and he has not made any decision yet,” they told this newspaper.

Internal rifts?

“There is no evidence against Boudou but he is being condemned by internal politics that wants to take advantage of the situation,” Senator Aníbal Fernández said weeks after Boudou blasted the government’s “off-the-record machos.”

Before the judicial recess, Judge Lijo accepted the appeals requests filed by Boudou and the other five defendants in the case. The Ciccone mint case will be analyzed by the Criminal Appeals Court in the next few weeks.

Herald staff with DyN, Télam

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