The businessman Lázaro Báez , close to the Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and his deceased husband and predecessor, Néstor Kirchner, was arrested today by order of the Justice in a police operation that generated great media impact. The businessman was arrested in the context of a case in which he is investigated for alleged money laundering through a financial company.
The television cameras recorded when Báez was arrested at the San Fernando airport in the northern area of Greater Buenos Aires, by order of federal judge Sebastián Casanello. Then he was transferred to a police station in the Argentine capital. The magistrate ordered him arrested after Báez traveled to Buenos Aires on a private plane from the city of Río de Gallegos, in the southern province of Santa Cruz, where he resides. The trip is “a trigger that triggers the risks of flight,” said the judge in the arrest warrant.
He was also arrested by the businessman’s accountant, Sebastián Perez Gadín , who was summoned to testify tomorrow at Casanello’s court in the same case for alleged money laundering, in which Báez had to make an inquiry on Thursday. The employer was summoned to declare tomorrow in another case; as a witness in the file that investigates the alleged illicit enrichment of the former head of the AFIP (treasury) and current head of the General Audit Office of the Nation, Ricardo Echegaray.
The arrest of the businessman is after the diffusion in the media of video images of 2012 in which several people appear – among others, his son Martín Báez – counting large sums of money within the financial SGI. Federal prosecutor Guillermo Marijuan said days ago that the video is “important, explicit evidence that sheds light” in the case of the investigation of Báez.
In this process is not involved the former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner “
The newspaper “Clarín” noted that “the commercial partner and accused of being the frontman of the Kirchner family, Lázaro Báez”, arrived in Buenos Aires “thinking that tomorrow he would testify in court”, but “a secret police operation was waiting for him”. Báez received millionaires public works contracts during the governments of the late Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007) and his successor and wife Cristina Fernández. Casanello pointed out that the video in which the businessman’s son and other people are observed counting dollars and euros “changes the whole scenario”.
The deputy for the CC-ARI Elisa Carrió, who promoted the coalition that took Mauricio Macri to the presidency on December 10, said it is “a great day of justice” for the arrest of Báez. “It happens after many years that we investigate and denounce the looting,” Carrió wrote in his Twitter account.
The arrest of Báez generated great impact in the local media and increased expectations for the next week, since Fernández de Kirchner was summoned to testify on Wednesday. The former president, who since the end of her tenure on December 10 remains detained in his residence in the south of the country, was summoned by the Justice in the context of another case that investigates alleged irregularities in the operations of selling dollars in the future by the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic (BCRA) during the last year of its management.
This is not the first detention linked to Kirchnerism since Mauricio Macri took office. The name of Argentine president seems in the “Panama papers” , a list of people and companies with funds in tax havens.
Ricardo Jaime arrested
Last Saturday, the former Argentine transport secretary Ricardo Jaime was arrested in a case that investigates overpricing in the purchase of railway material to Spain and Portugal. Jaime was in charge of the Transportation area between 2003 and 2009, throughout the Government of Néstor Kirchner and the first two years of the first term of Cristina Fernández. The former official has already been convicted of three other cases, among them the railway tragedy of Once, in which 51 people died in 2012. In any case, he was still free until the sentences were confirmed. “I fulfilled directives of the National Executive Power, first of Néstor Kirchner and after Cristina Fernández de Kirchner,” Jaime said in his statement before Judge Julián Ercolini.
The former Secretary of Transportation, who faces numerous complaints against him, said that the agreement signed by the then presidents Kirchner and the Spanish José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero established the replacement of the rolling stock that worked in the country “50 and 60 years old” by Spanish material with 20 years of use.