A court in Buenos Aires has ordered to freeze the assets of former Argentinean president Cristina Fernandez as part of an ongoing investigation into allegations that she illegally used the country’s US dollar reserves to control the currency fluctuation.
Prosecutors have charged her with conspiring to sell USD $17 billion in futures contracts to curtail the rise of the US dollar against Argentina’s peso. According to reports, she is facing charges for forcing the country’s central bank to sell the dollar at a low price in exchange for peso. This act led the state to lose billions of dollars. If convicted, she could face 5 to 20 years in prison.
This comes one week after authorities searched her properties over alleged links to money laundering. Many of her former cabinet ministers are accused of money laundering and mishandling of public funds.
Jose Lopez, one of Kirchner’s top public works officials, is in jail after he was caught throwing bags filled with millions of dollars worth of bills into a monastery in the Buenos Aires province. Fernandez’s former planning minister, Julio de Vido, is also facing investigation into alleged corruption in a public housing project.
Kirchner claims that the charges against her are politically motivated, but rooting out corruption was one of the promises of President Mauricio Macri. The president appears to be living up to his promise, because today numerous cases of corruption are being investigated. His administration is also encouraging whistleblowers to come forward, and offering lighter punishments for wrongdoers in exchange for information.
In the meantime, Macri is laying the groundwork for a fundamental shift in Argentina’s stance toward business and trade. Just months into his presidency, he reached a settlement with foreign bondholders, helping the country shake off its image as economic pariah in the international capital market.
Over the past few months, Macri’s administration has removed export taxes for agricultural products, abolished most currency controls, and taken steps to remove subsidies on electricity, food, and natural gas.
Removal of subsidies inflated the prices of electricity and natural gas, prompting people to question his policies, but analysts say his actions will yield good results for the Argentinean economy in the months to come.