[QODLink]
Americas

Former Argentina president cleared of bribery

Court finds Fernando De la Rua and seven others innocent of paying senators $5m to weaken labour laws.

Last updated: 24 Dec 2013 03:59
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
De la Rua was accused of bribing senators for their support in a labour law that would have weakened workers rights [Reuters]

Fernando De la Rua, Argentina's former president, has been cleared of bribery charges.

An Argentine court found on Monday that de la Rua was innocent of bribing senators to pass a controversial work reform bill as the country's economy neared bankruptcy more than a decade ago.

De la Rua and seven others, including a former labour minister, senators and a congressional worker, were absolved of charges of paying out bribes estimated at $5m to a group of senators for their support in a labour law that would have weakened workers rights, as the country faced an economic collapse 13 years ago.

It was a political plot from the beginning. This acquittal vindicates my dignity and my government.

Fernando De la Rua, former president of Argentina

De la Rua said the trial, which has lasted almost two years, was politically motivated.

A key witness for prosecutors had been de la Rua's parliamentary secretary Mario Pontaquarto who pleaded guilty to charges and said the former president had ordered him to offer the bribes.

But judges ruled the case against the defendant was not strong enough.

Welcoming the court's decision, de la Rua said outside the court that case against him was politically motivated.

"This trial of almost two years and 300 testimonies demonstrated there were no suspicions of corruption of my government and made this clear," he said.

"Furthermore, it served to demonstrate that it was slurs from the beginning to the end and it was not successful. It was a political plot from the beginning. This acquittal vindicates my dignity and my government." 

De la Rua gave up Argentina's presidency in 2001 amid growing social and economic unrest and an epic financial collapse that plunged millions into poverty.

Prosecutors can appeal against the verdict.

310

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
A vocal minority in Ukraine's east wants to join Russia, and Kiev has so far been unable to put down the separatists.
Iran's government has shifted its take on 'brain drain' but is the change enough to reverse the flow?
Deadly attacks on anti-mining activists in the Philippines part of a global trend, according to new report.
Activists say 'Honor Diaries' documentary exploits gender-based violence to further an anti-Islamic agenda.
As Syria's civil war escalates along the Turkish border, many in Turkey are questioning the country's involvement.
join our mailing list