Latin America & Caribbean

Argentine ex-leader Cristina Fernandez 'not afraid of jail'

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner talks with foreign correspondents at her residence in the Patagonian city of El Calafate, Santa Cruz province, Argentina. 23 July 2016 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ms Fernandez spoke to foreign correspondents at her home in El Calafate, Patagonia

Former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner says she is not afraid of going to prison as a result of the corruption charges she faces.

Ms Fernandez has been accused of making fraudulent currency transactions during her time in office, a claim she denies.

In an interview with several media outlets, she rejected the allegations as politically motivated.

She says she is paying the price for her generous welfare and nationalisation policies.

"When you make decisions like these, it's clear that you risk going to jail and being politically persecuted," she told a group of foreign correspondents at her Patagonian estate.

"I'm not afraid of going to jail, at all."

Ms Fernandez led the country between 2007 and 2015 and was replaced in December by the centre-right Mauricio Macri.

In May she was charged with allegedly ordering irregular central bank transactions in the US dollar futures market. Earlier this month her assets were frozen.

Some of her closest aides are also being investigated for alleged mishandling of public funds.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Former public works secretary Jose Lopez (c) was arrested outside a convent

Her former public works secretary, Jose Lopez, was allegedly caught stashing bags of cash and jewels in a convent in Buenos Aires.

Ms Fernandez dismissed the incident as the kind of thing that could beset any government.

"I don't want to minimise anything, but I think those are episodes that can take place for any government," she told the reporters.

The Roman Catholic Church in Argentina has recently launched an investigation into whether four nuns at the Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima religious community helped to hide the hoard.

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