|Argentine Vice President Amado Boudou. (AFP-Yonhap)|
BUENOS AIRES (AP) ― Argentina’s Vice President Amado Boudou has been charged with bribery and conducting business incompatible with public office, adding to the woes of President Cristina Fernandez.
Boudou is accused of using shell companies and secret middlemen to gain control of a company that was given contracts to print the Argentine peso, as well as material for Fernandez’s election campaign.
Federal judge Ariel Lijo’s decision was published Friday night on the justice department’s website. The judge also ordered an embargo on 200,000 pesos ($25,000) of Boudou’s property. He will remain free while he waits trial in the case along with five other defendants.
Boudou is the first sitting Argentine vice president to face such charges. He could be sentenced to between one and six years in prison, and be banned for life from elective office.
Boudou, who was on an official trip to Cuba when the ruling was announced, says he’s innocent of the accusations despite evidence linking him to other defendants that was made public through investigative reports by Argentina’s newspapers.