Argentine ex-vice president freed following accusations of corruption

ARGENTINA CORRUPTION | 13 de enero de 2018

Buenos Aires, Jan 12 (efe-epa).- Former Argentine Vice President Amado Boudou (2011-2015) was released Friday after the country's justice annulled his preventive detention in two cases for allegedly presenting false invoices and for money laundering.

The Court of Appeals of the Federal Chamber ordered this morning to release Boudou, in a ruling to which Efe had access.

The process investigated the billings of travel expenses abroad when he was Minister of Economy (2009-2011), and on Thursday probed the case of alleged illicit enrichment through money laundering, the two charges that kept him in preventive detention.

In statements to media out of prison, Boudou denounced that "the system is turning around the presumption of innocence, and has more to do with derision than with justice," and said that "the judiciary is making abuses", in relation to the multiple cases of Kirchnerists who are detained.

In the ruling in which he ordered his "immediate" release, the Court of Appeals questioned the prison sentence ordered by the judge of first instance; in line with what was sustained by the defense of Boudou: "The conditions for an overnight detention of a person who has been undergoing a trial for five years were not given," said his lawyer, Eduardo Marañona, on the TN channel.

The Chamber considered that at that time Boudou always appeared before the Court when required, and rejected the justification of the prison term, reasoned by the investigating judge, related to "residual relationships or influences based on the public positions that he occupied in the past", and that could endanger the investigation.

The text added that the process, which has lasted several years, had an "untimely variation" that culminated in the arrests, but "the procedural activity hitherto deployed" that passed, according to the ruling, at a pace "lacking in dynamism", and wasn't accompanied by a "correlative jurisdictional activity that would support it."

About the alleged false invoices, Boudou's defense consisted in asserting that he did not handle that issue and that he delegated it to other officials.

"He was Minister of Economy and in that condition he went to meetings of the G20 and met with ministers from all over the world, imagine if he was going to pay attention to whether this or that was paid, or if invoices were given," his attorney said.

With regard to the money laundering charge, Boudou's partner, who was released on Thursday, expressed to local media his "concern" about having been "almost 70 days in detention without being prosecuted," and said he did not "understand how filling out blank checks with a bank seems like money laundering."

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