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Argentine Vice President Boudou Indicted in Corruption Case

Argentine Vice President Amado Boudou
Argentine Vice President Amado Boudou, right, leaves court after being questioned about his alleged involvement in acquiring a bankrupt company that later won contracts to print the nation’s currency, in Buenos Aires, on June 9, 2014. Photographer: Alejandro Pagni/AFP via Getty Images

Argentine Vice President Amado Boudou was indicted by a federal court on corruption charges related to his alleged involvement in acquiring a bankrupt company that later won contracts to print the nation’s currency.

Federal Judge Ariel Lijo ordered a freeze on Boudou’s assets for as much as 200,000 pesos ($24,592) for alleged “passive bribery” and “incompatible negotiations” in the case involving Ciccone Calcografica SA printing company, according to a statement posted yesterday on the Judicial Information Center’s website. The court also indicted five other people, the statement said.

The case threatens to dent President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s government as she looks to finish her second term next year amid a weakening peso, an average inflation rate forecast by economists to reach 25 percent this year and a slowing economy. Boudou, who was economy minister at the time of the Ciccone acquisition in 2010, has said he’s innocent and is being persecuted by the courts and opposition media outlets.

Boudou’s lawyer, Diego Pirota, told radio station Radio America today the vice president will appeal the decision to indict him on July 4, newspaper La Nacion reported. Opposition politicians, including Radical Party presidential candidate Julio Cobos and Senator Gabriela Michetti, are calling for impeachment hearings to investigate the claims, the newspaper said.

Telephone calls made and e-mails sent outside of normal business hours today to the vice president’s and presidential press offices went unanswered.

Court Date

On May 30, Boudou said he won’t resign because he’s innocent. He was summoned that day to appear in federal court next month to give a statement on the case.

Boudou, along with alleged business partners Jose Maria Nunez Carmona and Alejandro Vandenbroele, acquired 70 percent of Ciccone in 2010 through The Old Fund, a company originally set up to help restructure debt from the Argentine province of Formosa, according to a separate document posted on the court’s website.

The Old Fund paid 1.99 billion pesos for the acquisition of Ciccone while pressuring Boldt SA, a rival printing company, to abandon the plant it had rented with approval of the court overseeing the bankruptcy procedure, according to court documents.

Nunez Carmona and Vandenbroele are among the five others indicted yesterday. Attempts to reach them today through Ciccone Calcografica’s offices were unsuccessful.

Boudou, 51, has defended himself against the accusations in messages posted on his Twitter account and in a radio interview.

Speaking to Radio 10 on May 30, he denied wrongdoing and said he’ll appear in court July 15 as ordered to testify.

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