Argentina's scandal-hit ex-leader facing more graft charges

Buenos Aires (AFP) –


Argentina's former president Cristina Kirchner was charged with a new corruption case for the second day running on Tuesday, this time related to irregularities in the concession of subsidies for train and bus operators.

The 66-year-old senator was already facing numerous allegations before she was indicted on Monday for the fraudulent import of liquid gas.

Judge Claudio Bonadio asked that Kirchner be remanded in pre-trial custody with bail of one billion pesos ($25 million).

But the center-left politician, who was president from 2007 to 2015, is protected from incarceration by partial parliamentary immunity.

She is in Cuba, where her daughter Florencia is receiving hospital treatment.

Among the previous 10 cases brought against Kirchner, the most notable is the "corruption notebooks" scandal in which she is accused of having received tens of millions of dollars in bribes.

In that case, the prosecution claims that a total of $160 million in bribes were handed over between 2005 -- when her husband Nestor was president -- and 2015.

Kirchner hopes to stand in October's presidential elections and is the closest rival to center-right president Mauricio Macri, according to polls.

But the first of the many trials she faces for corruption begins on May 21, in a case in which she is accused of having corruptly favored businessman Lazaro Baez in the attribution of 52 public works contracts worth 46 billion pesos ($1.2 billion) during her presidency.