Argentine Authorities Seize More Than 30 Works of Art From Former President Cristina Kirchner in Corruption Probe

The former president says the news is an attempt to distract Argentinians from tax hikes.

Argentina's former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner during a meeting of the World Forum of Critical Thought in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2018. Photo by Mario De Fina/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

A court in Argentina has ordered the seizure of more than 30 paintings from the country’s former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who is currently a senator, as part of an ongoing corruption investigation. The works, which have not been identified publicly, are reportedly worth $4 million.

The raid was reportedly carried out last Thursday at Kirchner’s home in Buenos Aires, though the order was first approved in August, according to Agence France-Presse. Kirchner’s request for leniency has been denied, according to a document posted on Argentina’s Judicial Information Centre website on December 26, which was signed by five authorities.

In August, Judge Claudio Bonadio gave investigators permission to search three of Kirchner’s properties after parliament partially lifted the immunity connected to her current role as senator, according to AFP.

Kirchner reacted to the seizure on Twitter by posting an image of the front page of the newspaper Clarin, where the top two stories were about a government hike on public service tariffs and the seizure of her artworks, according to AFP. “This cover is a work of art,” she tweeted (in Spanish).

She then tweeted: “Today, December 28, the Day of the Innocents, Clarin puts on top the increased taxes on everything, alongside a picture of ’33 of Cristina’s works of art’ so that you will focus your anger on the so-called ‘museum’ in my house as opposed to the tax hikes on light, gas, and transportation.”

Kirchner is accused of accepting tens of millions of dollars in bribes and operating a criminal network with ties to the so-called “corruption notebooks,” which provided meticulous documentation of bribes that businessmen paid to government officials.

Neither Kirchner nor her attorney could be reached for comment.

The court has now seized roughly $38 million worth of Kirchner’s assets. She and her late husband, Néstor Kirchner, who also served as president, are accused of accepting millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for major public work contracts.

Kirchner appears set to challenge current president Mauricio Macri in the election later this year according to reports.

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