Argentina's Kirchner rejects money laundering charges

BUENOS AIRES: Former Argentine president Cristina Kirchner on Thursday rejected charges she engaged in money laundering.

Kirchner, who won a seat in the Senate last month that protects her from going to prison if convicted, submitted a written request to Judge Julian Ercolini asking that the case be dismissed.

The leftist former president faces money-laundering and bribery charges in the so-called Hotesur case, named after a Kirchner family hotel business in Patagonia, the suspected source of the allegedly laundered funds.

"There are at least seven firm judicial decisions which, after analyzing the same acts, have ruled out the existence of any type of illicit activity," Kirchner wrote.

Saying she wanted to avoid a "media show", Kirchner asked her supporters not to gather outside the courthouse as they have several times in the past.

She arrived at the courthouse in Buenos Aires some 90 minutes before the start of the hearing to deliver her letter but declined to respond to reporters' questions.

Kirchner's children, Maximo, 40 and Florencia, 27, have been summoned to testify in the same case next week.

On Twitter, she described the case as a "new chapter of judicial persecution order" by President Mauricio Macri, who succeeded Kirchner in 2015.

In her letter to the court, she said she was "aware that the explanations provided will not even be considered and that the fate of this instruction has already been decided a long time ago".

Several prominent members of her former government have been detained on corruption charges in recent weeks, including ex-public works minister Julio De Vido and Amado Boudou, Kirchner's vice-president from 2011-2015.

Kirchner won a seat in the Senate for Buenos Aires province in last month's legislative elections.

She takes up her seat on Dec 10.

In Argentina, parliamentary immunity protects against arrest but does not prevent judicial cases from going ahead. — AFP