After two years and four months, the Federal Oral Court 4 (TOF 4) will conclude on Wednesday of this week the trial for money laundering against Lázaro Báez, known as the Ruta del Dinero K. The former business partner of Cristina Kirchner is on trial for having laundered 60 million dollars.
Lazaro Baez He is still in prison, although under the modality of house arrest. From a home in Greater Buenos Aires he will wait for the reading of the sentence in the first case that led him to oral proceedings. He is accused of “being part of a gang dedicated to laundering money between 2010 and 2013 aggravated by habitual behavior.” Judge Sebastián Casanello took into account the evidence on the externalization of money, its re-entry into the country and also the accumulation of funds in Switzerland.
The cornerstone of all the maneuvers investigated was Austral Construcciones, the firm that was reactivated in May 2013, twelve days before Néstor Kirchner assumed the presidency of the Nation. Thus, la Ruta del Dinero K was linked to the cause of the alleged fraud against the State for the irregular assignment of public works to Báez during the Kirchner government (51 contracts for 46,000 million pesos).
In that file, in charge of TOF 2, Cristina Kirchner and the owner of Grupo Austral are being tried for illicit association. In this trial, the irregularities with those works were considered as a crime preceding the money laundering operations: Without this management of funds, businessman K could not organize the subsequent money laundering.
The case against Báez, whose trial will end on Wednesday, became one of the largest files in terms of money laundering. The investigation has 191 bodies (38,200 pages) and 270 incidents, each of which has 50 bodies.
This Wednesday from 9.30 the hearing will begin with the final words of two defendants, and after noon the reading of the verdict of the Federal Oral Court 4 (TOF 4) is expected the same one who tried Amado Boudou for the Ciccone cause, composed of the judges Néstor Costabel, Gabriela López Iñiguez and Adriana Palliotti.
The prosecutor involved in the trial is Abel Córdoba, who asked for a 12-year sentence for Lázaro Báez and other penalties for his four children. In his presentation, he argued that the money that was turned over to money laundering operations came in part from fraud in public works, where the main defendant is the vice president. He said that the Austral Group “received directed works, plagued with irregularities, with average surcharges of 65% or more,” he recalled.
On the other hand, the complaints of the Financial Information Unit (UIF), the AFIP and the Anticorruption Office (OA) They requested sentences for the businessman: nine years, eight and eight and a half years, respectivelyand. All argued that part of the money that Báez received for the public works went to money laundering operations. The maximum penalty so far is that required by the prosecutor.
The sentence is awaited by the 26 accused, among them the four children of businessman K, the only accused collaborator in the case, Leonardo Fariña, the financier Federico Elaskar, Fabián Rossi, among others.
The TOF 4 will have to make a decision on the large assets of Báez. The cause put the spotlight on his fortune. During the investigated period, according to the prosecutor Guillermo Marijuan, the assets of businessman K increased substantially: today there are more than 1,420 properties: rooms, houses, apartments, commercial premises, vehicles, land, hotels, companies, airplanes. The National Appraisal Court assigned all those assets a value of 205 million dollars. There are orders for confiscation of everything.