Former Argentina president faces bribery charges

[JURIST] Former president of Argentina Fernando de la Rua [BBC profile] faced trial on Tuesday on bribery charges associated with his term as president from 1999-2001. De la Rua is accused of bribing Senators for votes [JURIST report], including the payment of $5 million to senators in order to reduce legal protections for Argentine workers. A panel of judges already concluded that the $5 million was paid to the senators, and prosecutors in the case will now attempt to tie the bribe to de la Rua. Also on trial [La Nacion report, in Spanish] for bribery is de la Rua's former parliament secretary Mario Pontaquarto. Pontaquarto has already confessed to participating in bribery and has assisted the prosecution in building its case. De la Rua has denied the charges.

De la Rua has faced other charges associated with his past presidency. The Buenos Aires Appeals Court reinstated five charges of manslaughter [JURIST report] against de la Rua in 2009. The charges were dismissed in April of that year after a judge concluded that the prosecution had not established sufficient evidence to show that de la Rua initiated the chain of events that led to the deaths of five protesters. The deaths came during riots sparked by a national economic crisis [BBC report] that caused de la Rua to flee the presidential residence and eventually resign his office just two years into his term. De la Rua has also faced several other criminal charges. In 2008, he defended himself [JURIST report] against bribery charges. In December 2004, an Argentinian court charged [JURIST report] him with improperly allocating public funds for his own private use and for the use of his political party while serving in public office.

 

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