Former Argentine President Kirchner Charged in Widespread Corruption Probe

(Bloomberg) -- An Argentine federal judge formally indicted former president and current Senator Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on corruption charges on Monday as part of a widespread graft probe that has embroiled many officials in her former government.

Judge Claudio Bonadio from Buenos Aires accused Fernandez of "illicit association" and of having received bribes from public works contractors during her tenure in the presidency between 2007 and 2015, according to court documents. The judge also ordered a "pre-trial detention." Kirchner enjoys legislative immunity and would have to be stripped of her legal protections through a vote in Senate. Senators last year denied a similar motion.

Kirchner’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Her lawyer, Carlos Beraldi, was also not immediately available. The former president has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and called Bonadio’s investigation politically motivated. Fernandez has been mentioned as a possible candidate to challenge President Mauricio Macri in elections next year.

Bonadio’s charges are the latest move in a growing graft case, known as the "notebooks" scandal, in which a former chauffeur for a government official kept detailed notes of a system of bribe deliveries. The release of portions of the notebooks by local newspaper La Nacion contributed to the arrest of over 20 former government officials and businessmen.

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