The president of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez, has found herself under fire recently due to accusations published in investigative news reports in an Argentine newspaper. The article accuses president Fernandez of funneling taxpayer money into expensive resort hotels owned by an old friend named Lazaro Baez.
Lazaro Baez is a former business partner of president Fernandez and her late husband, Nestor Kirchner. Accusations that the relationship between Fernandez and Baez has lead to profits for Baez are not a new occurrence; under the office of both Kirchner and Fernandez, Baez’s corporations, such as “Austral Construcciones,” have won many public works contracts. The current accusations, however, do not focus on public works projects; instead, they center around Fernandez and her husband’s private business.
Investigative reports by the Argentine newspaper “La Nacion” have put forth the idea that the tax money given to Baez for public works projects may have been funneled into the private hotels that Kitchner and Fernandez owned. The official books kept by Baez’s company indicate that one third of the rent for the rooms in these hotels were payed for by Baez’s company, whether or not they were filled. The failing government airline for Argentina, Aerolineas, was also accused of reserving one third of the hotel’s rooms. If these allegations are true, it might explain the tenfold growth the presidential couple saw in their personal wealth since taking office.
In response to these allegations, president Fernandez sent her presidential secretary, Oscar Parilli, to speak about the rumors on public television. The statement had this to say: “The false reports by the daily La Nacion, later repeated incessantly once again by Clarin… try to put in doubt the legitimacy, legality and honesty of the private economic acts of the Presidents Nestor Carlos Kirchner and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.” Though she vehemently denies the claims made by the newspaper, it is unclear whether or not any further research will be done, or if a formal investigation will take place.
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