Argentina's Former Public Works Secretary Caught Burying $8.5 Million

Back in April, an Argentine prosecutor requested that former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner be investigated in a wide-ranging money laundering probe that allegedly involved a prominent government contractor and associate.

Members of Kirchner's Victory Front party claimed the request had no legal basis, with Congressman Hector Recalde saying "This move has no legal basis, it was rushed and we don't have any details because the investigation is sealed."

However, things started to get a bit dicey for Kirchner when a prominent businessman named Lazaro Baez was arrested. Baez was the owner of leading construction firms and partner of hotel and property businesses with Kirchner and her late husband the WSJ reported at the time. In a further tangled web of potential corruption, an imprisoned former associate of Baez named Leonardo Farina implicated Kirchner, her late husband, and Baez as part of a plea bargain. According to reports, Farina testified to the laundering of hundreds of millions of dollars out of Argentina through offshore companies in Panama, Belize and the Seychelles to a Swiss bank.

Prosecutors allege that Baez, who set up his construction company just days before Kirchner took office in 2003 and has made millions through public projects, was the one who transferred the money abroad through an intricate network of shell companies.

The Judge in the case labeled Baez a flight risk and a "suspect in a conspiracy to launder $5.1 million using bags filled with cash."

We provide the background above because it brings us to more recent news. On Tuesday, the former public works secretary under Kirchner, Jose Lopez, was arrested after he was caught burying bags containing an estimated $8.5 million in cash in the grounds of a convent near Buenos Aires.

Police were tipped off by a neighbor who saw Lopez taking bags out of his car in the middle of the night. Lopez, who currently serves as a lawmaker in the Mercosur parliament, was found with an assault rifle and six bags containing dollars, euros, yen, and Qatari riyal Bloomberg reports.

During an interview in April, Lopez said that he had overseen more than 40,000 infrastructure projects during his tenure, ironically adding "we never gave any benefits to any businessmen and all the projects were done through public tender and were awarded at the lowest cost."

"Being transparent will move us away from embarrassing situations like the one we woke up to today, an event we are all embarrassed by. We are changing and it's good that we uncover everything we want to change in Argentina" President Mauricio Macri said upon learning of the arrest on Tuesday.

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It's safe to say that this arrest probably won't help matters for Kirchner as the former President battles the money laundering charges. Ah the webs the corrupt powerful elites weave for themselves - in the end, the truth will eventually find its way out.