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Argentina: Former Presidential Candidate and Buenos Aires Governor Faces Corruption Charges

By: Raquel García - @venturaG79 - Aug 3, 2016, 9:25 am
Former Gov. Daniel Scioli said complaints about the irregular handling of funds during his tenure in 2014 and 2015 are false. (Infobae)
Former Gov. Daniel Scioli said complaints about the irregular handling of funds during his tenure in 2014 and 2015 are false. (Infobae)

EspañolThe former governor of the Buenos Aires Daniel Scioli is being investigated for extracting AR $20 billion (US $1.3412 billion) of public funds in 2014 and 2015.

This Sunday, July 31, the TV show La Cornisa revealed details regarding records showing Scioli’s cash withdrawals.

The Argentinean newspaper La Nación reported that the investigators, led by prosecutor Alvaro Garganta, said it was “the largest looting of public funds in history” and estimated it was 10 percent of Buenos Aires’ budget last year.

It is suspected that the money would have been used in the 2015 presidential campaign.

Scioli was denounced on June 2 by National Deputy and ally of Mauricio Macri, Elisa Carrio, who accused him of money laundering and illicit enrichment.

La Nación said the investigation focused on tracking the irregular activity of budget funds.

Garganta subpoenaed the Banco Provincia and the Court of Auditors of Buenos Aires to obtain part of the record of the hundreds of thousands of cash withdrawals. Garganta also found “inconsistent and irregular” shopping bills and services.

“I started backward,” the lawyer said. “By the end, I found a huge surprise. As we had already detected irregularities and inconsistencies in the extraction of cash from extra-budgetary accounts of the Cabinet, I asked the current authorities of Banco Provincia to track all withdrawals of funds during the years 2014 and 2015. My team discriminated private and public funds, and determined that during those two years during the political campaign, they withdrew more than AR $20,000 million in cash.”

The former governor issued a statement Monday, August 1 refuting the accusations against his administration.

“I am under the ethical and political obligation to assert the absolute falsity of the allegations that have been made against me and my government officials,” Scioli said in the statement.

He said never during his tenure were irregular cash withdrawals made from the Banco Provincia of Buenos Aires.

“The reality is that according to law and administrative and banking standards, electronic transfers were made from the single account of the treasury of the province to accounts of different agencies for payment of wages and overtime to provincial government workers, as well as all other obligations that demanded the functioning of the government and its companies,” Scioli explained.

“These procedures are legally correct and are still used by the new authorities of the province to make payments of salaries and services,” said the former presidential candidate.

“I hope the facts are clarified as soon as possible to disrupt misleading interpretations of objective data,” he added.

Earlier, the former Head of the Buenos Aires Cabinet Alberto Pérez said complaints against Scioli management “have no form of support.”

Perez said he was “astonished” by the “lack of rigor” of the information released yesterday in the television program La Cornisa. He explained the money transfers were “electronic” and were used to pay wages and overtime.

“They are electronic transfers of Banco Provincia to the different jurisdictions to pay wages and overtime. Specifically those that I saw on TV were for teacher incentives and payment of wages,” he said.

Source: La Nación, Clarín

Raquel García Raquel García

Raquel García is a Venezuelan journalist with over 16 years of experience in digital outlets and radios. She currently lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Follow her @venturaG79.