Former Argentina vice president convicted in corruption case

Buenos Aires,   An Argentine court has sentenced former Vice President Amado Boudou to five years and seven months in prison for corruption in connection with the purchase of a currency-printing firm.

Judges Pablo Bertuzzi, Nestor Costabel, Maria Gabriela Lopez Iniguez and Jorge Gorini ordered Boudou’s immediate arrest on Tuesday, and banned him for life from public office, Efe news reported.

The court imposed a similar sentence for Boudou’s business partner, Jose Maria Nunez Carmona, who was found to be an accomplice, as well as a term of four year and six months for Nicolas Ciccone, the former owner of the eponymous company, for paying bribes.

The court concluded that Boudou and his associate, using a shell company known as The Old Fund, bought the then-bankrupt printing firm with the eventual goal of securing currency- and official document-printing contracts.

The crimes date from Boudou’s 2009-2011 tenure as economy minister, before he became vice president.

Boudou and Nunez Carmona reached an arrangement with Ciccone Calcografica’s owners for them to sell 70 percent of the company to The Old Fund in exchange for “the necessary proceedings” to allow the firm to resume operations and secure government contracts.

The CEO of The Old Fund, reputed Boudou front-man Alejandro Vandenbroele, was given a two-year suspended sentence and ordered to perform community service.

In his last statement, Boudou said that he was being prosecuted for wanting to “transform the reality” of the country, adding that the accusations of bribery against him “do not hold up and have no ties to the evidence because it did not happen.”