Argentina: Judge Charges Vice President With Corruption

A Supreme Court judge has accused Vice President Amado Boudou of bribery and abuse of office in connection with his acquisition in bankruptcy proceedings of a company that printed Argentina’s currency when he was the economic minister.

Judge Ariel Lijo said in a decision released by the court that Boudou used a front man to gain control over Ciccone Calcografica when it filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

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 After the purchase, Boudou took over Ciccone Calcografica through a shell company called The Old Fund and allegedly received tax breaks to pay its debts, reports news portal Latin Post.

Boudou is the first vice president to face corruption charges. He had been seen as a potential successor to President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, according to the New York Times.

Five others were also charged in this case, including the alleged front man and owner of the shell company Alejandro Vandenbroele, reports the Latin Post.

Boudou denies the charges, says he is the victim of a media campaign, and  has criticized Lijo for an improper investigation. According to the Times, Boudou believes that media organizations at odds with the government are conspiring against him. He says he will appeal.

If convicted, he could face up to six years in prison and a lifetime ban from public office, reports Post.