Argentina’s former vice president, Amado Boudou, was sentenced to nearly six years in prison on Tuesday after being found guilty of corruption while serving under former president Cristina Kirchner.
The charges related to Boudou’s attempt to buy a company that printed currency through a front business while serving as Kirchner’s economy minister.
A court found the 55-year-old guilty of “passive bribery” and conduct “incompatible” with his duties as a public servant, sentencing him to five years and 10 months in prison.
Boudou, who served in Kirchner’s cabinet from 2009 to 2015, has been banned for life from holding public office.
His lawyers are expected to appeal the conviction.
Argentina has recently been rocked by another major corruption scandal involving top political and business figures and compared to neighboring Brazil’s sprawling Operation Car Wash probe.
Kirchner, who served as president from 2007 to 2015, has been summoned for questioning next week amidst allegations that tens of millions of dollars in bribes were funneled to the presidential residence, executive mansion and offices.
Ever since she left office, her administration has been beset by various corruption allegations and convictions.
Boudou told the court that he never negotiated a 70 percent stake in Ciccone Calcografica eight years ago, saying the “alleged bribe has no basis or link to the evidence because it didn’t exist.”
Five other entrepreneurs were convicted alongside Boudou, including the company’s former owner Nicolas Ciccone, who was given a four-and-a-half-year jail term.
At the beginning of the year, Ciccone was granted a release from detention into house arrest as his partner, former Mexican politician Monica Garcia de la Fuente, was expecting twins.
Laura Alonso, head of the anti-corruption office, said this case showed the country had confronted official corruption in an “open and public trial” and that there is “justice in Argentina.”
The court found Boudou guilty of trying to lift a bankruptcy declaration against Ciccone in return for a 70 percent share in the business.
Amongst those also convicted were Argentina’s former representative to the World Bank, Guido Forcieri, who was given a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence.
The more recent corruption case revolves around allegations that the planning ministry applied pressure to businessmen to contribute to the election campaigns of both Kirchner and her husband Nestor, whom she succeeded as president.
A businessman who has admitted paying such contributions, Juan Carlos de Goycoechea, surrendered to police on Friday and asked for protection under an “accused collaborator” program.
Prosecutors believe a total of $160 million could have been paid in bribes.
Since this case came to light last week, 16 ex-government officials and businessmen have been arrested in dozens of raids. They face charges of conspiracy in a bribery and kickback scheme.