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Argentine ex-president allows search of properties in corruption case

Senator and former Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is seen during a session at the Senate in Buenos Aires, Argentina, early on August 9, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Former Argentine president Cristina Fernandez has allowed authorities to search her properties as part of an investigation into a corruption case.

Fernandez, who is a now senator and immune from prosecution, agreed on Tuesday to a request to search her three houses for evidence.

She is accused of involvement in a corruption case in which construction company executives have claimed they paid bribes for government contracts during her tenure as president.

“I have no problem with the Senate authorizing what has been asked for by (Judge Claudio) Bonadio,” Fernandez wrote in a Twitter post, referring to the judge in the case. “But I want to make clear that my decision should in no way validate the irrational measures taken by Bonadio in his prosecutorial crusade against me.”

The Senate is yet to vote on whether to give that authorization.

A local newspaper said this month that a driver for a former government official said he had kept records of cash deliveries from construction executives to government officials from 2005 to 2015.

More than a dozen executives and officials from Fernandez’s former administration have been arrested after the so-called “notebooks of corruption” came to light.

Fernandez, who denies any wrongdoing, appeared before the judge earlier this month and filed a request to remove him and the prosecutors in her case, arguing the “judicial power, the executive power, and hegemonic media” are acting in coordination against her.

The leftist senator is said to be trying to unseat Argentina’s current leader, Mauricio Macri, in next year’s presidential election.

Macri, who has been in office since 2015, is under fire as the economy slips into recession and inflation soars.

Fernandez’s critics on Tuesday called on the Senate to remove her immunity and for her to be prosecuted.

The former president says she is being persecuted by Macri, whom she accuses of using the scandal to distract media attention from an economic crisis that has sparked protests in the country.

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