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In Argentina Former Kirchner minister arrested for corruption

A former minister in the Argentine governments of Nestor and Cristina Kirchner was arrested for corruption Wednesday shortly after Congress stripped him of his parliamentary immunity.

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Argentine ex-cabinet minister Julio de Vido (R) - here in 2014 with then-president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner - was arrested for corruption shortly after Congress stripped him of his parliamentary immunity play

Argentine ex-cabinet minister Julio de Vido (R) - here in 2014 with then-president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner - was arrested for corruption shortly after Congress stripped him of his parliamentary immunity

(AFP/File)
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A former minister in the Argentine governments of Nestor and Cristina Kirchner was arrested for corruption Wednesday shortly after Congress stripped him of his parliamentary immunity.

Julio de Vido was the minister of planning in the husband-and-wife Kirchner governments that spanned 12 years between 2003-2015, handling billions of dollars while in charge of public works.

Judges investigating two corruption cases, involving the administration of a power station and the importation of liquefied gas, had ordered his arrest as soon as his immunity was lifted.

Currently a deputy in the Congress, De Vido, 67, was a fixture in the Kirchner governments while other ministers saw their political fortunes ebb and flow in various reshuffles.

"He was not just a simple minister. He was one of the most powerful Kirchnerists because he was the leader of the system of financing political activity," analyst Carlos Fara said.

Congress voted by 176 votes in favor of the measure to strip De Vido's immunity, with one abstention. The leftist Peronist bloc, from which the Kirchners drew their support, abstained.

Hector Recalde of the Peronist Victory Front party denounced what he called a government "plan to persecute opponents."

Former president Cristina Kirchner is facing several corruption charges of her own, but won a senate seat in Sunday's midterm elections which guarantees her immunity.

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