World Bulletin/News Desk
A federal judge in Argentina on Friday called in Argentine Vice President Amado Boudou to testify as a suspect in a criminal investigation involving a money-printing company.
Boudou is suspected of having taken advantage of his influence in public office to help get a struggling family-run printing firm out of bankruptcy when he was economy minister from 2009 to 2011. The vice president is thought to have profited from the favor.
Judge Ariel Lijo set the vice president’s appearance for July 15, where he will be able to present his defense.
Lijo will hear his testimony along with other suspects before making a decision on whether to throw out the case or proceed to prosecute.
Ciccone Calcografica, a now defunct firm that printed pesos, passports and other sensitive documents, ran into bankruptcy in 2010, with most of its around 250 million pesos ($31 million) in debts owed to the Federal Tax Agency.
Boudou allegedly intervened with the tax bureau to help get the company out of bankruptcy and reschedule its tax debt payments.
Ciccone was later sold to The Old Fund, a company run by an acquaintance of a life-long friend and business partner of Boudou’s.
The Old Fund renamed Ciccone as Compania de Valores Sudamericana and set out to win contracts for printing 100 peso notes, passports and other official documents from the state. Boudou is suspected of being a partner in The Old Fund, according to the court summons.
Boudou has taken a low profile in the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner since the investigation started in 2012 and led to the state takeover of the printing firm that year.
An enthusiastic rock guitarist and leather jacket-wearing motorcyclist, Boudou had previously been on the rise in the party ranks, often cited as a potential successor to President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
The corruption probe, however, has halted his climb for now.
Boudou has proclaimed his innocence throughout the investigation.
“I swear that I committed no act of corruption and I am going to prove my innocence,” Boudou said on Radio 10.
He added that he doesn’t plan to resign, saying, “I am part of this government and I will continue to be.”Last Mod: 31 Mayıs 2014, 10:14