Argentina Sentences Former Officials over Purchase of Scrapped Trains
Following a scandal that shook up the Argentinian elite, a court in Buenos Aires has found two former high-ranking officials guilty of illicit enrichment and other crimes involving the purchase of trains from Spain and Portugal.
local media reported.Former Secretary of Transportation Ricardo Jaime and former Minister of Federal planning Julio de Vido had allowed Argentine railway company Belgrano Cargas to buy scrapped trains that were not even compatible with the country’s railway network,
Authorities found the already rusty wagons sitting in a station covered with vegetation. The trains were bought between 2003 and 2010. Half of them have never been repaired and have never been used in Argentina, according to prosecutors cited by local media.
The deal cost the taxpayers nearly US$34 million.
Jaime was sentenced to eight years in prison and de Vido to four.
The court will release the full explanation of the sentence mid-2022 and de Vido’s lawyers said in a press release that once they analyze the ruling, they might appeal.
The sentence is “yet another demonstration of a justice system that issues irresponsible decisions without any factual or legal justification,” the statement said. It claimed that judges and prosecutors were not able to prove de Vido’s participation in the list of crimes they accused him of.
Jaime is already serving another sentence since 2016 for a train crash that had killed 51 passengers at the Once station in Buenos Aires in 2012. De Vido, on the other hand, has been accused of fraud and bribery in multiple cases, some of which have not yet reached a court.