Breaking News! What Crimes Does Kirchner’s Money Laundering Scheme Reveal?
By lucas@endneoliberalism On 16 Apr, 2013 At 08:44 AM | Categorized As Kirchner, Neoliberal Alert | With 0 Comments

An investigation by the renowned journalist Jorge Lanata was made public on Sunday, revealing a network of businessmen and financial institutions with close ties to the President that launder hundreds of millions of dollars annually using offshore accounts.

This money laundering scheme reveals more than tax-evasion, something that is probably common of all politicians worldwide, because not all money is stolen equally. The first crime this laundering scheme reveals is that much of the money sent to offshore accounts is money that Kirchner and prominent businessmen steal from the country by marking up the costs of public works with fake invoices. For example, Lanata’s investigation shows that construction companies owned by Lazaro Antonio Baez rake up the costs of public works by almost 60%. Mr. Baez has been Nestor Kirchner’s business partner since the former President was a small town mayor in Rio Gallegos and he is now a major government contractor who is worth approximately US$6 billion although his main companies barely make a profit. Lately, Baez has been purchasing land and enterprises valued at tens of millions of dollars using solely cash.

Furthermore, much of the money being laundered is probably in the form suitcases full of bribes from Barrick Gold and other multinationals that La Rioja’s governnor Luis Beder Herrera denounced before he accepted his own suitcase. A deeper analysis of Lanata’s investigation reveals Kirchner’s “closet” Neoliberal era, and the delicate state of the Argentinean economy as a result of adhering to the global Neoliberal economic structure.

Lanata’s money-laundering investigation became public in the midst of a new “corralito”, a fiscal policy that prohibits Argentineans from buying foreign currency thus placing barriers to imports and traveling abroad. Kirchner’s “corralito”, however, has nothing to do with protectionist policies and patriotism, at least not for the president. The Kirchner’s economic model, the next Neoliberal stage imposed on Argentina, ran out of steam and there simply isn’t any money left for Argentineans to purchase.

The Kirchner economic model had to come to an end, as it is impossible to boost long-term economic growth by turning the land into soy farms and blasting mountains for their minerals, all while paying billions in illegal debts, redistributing some of the wealth among militant groups that support the government, and wasting over a billion dollars in a circus of propaganda.

The big crime being revealed in this investigation is how the Kirchner government profited from expanding Neoliberalism while they played the role of the good socialist in order to mitigate Argentineans from taking the government out with their cooking pans as they did back in 2001. It is ironic that such PR techniques are used by multinationals such as McDonald’s, which sell salads to show that they provide healthy choices although hamburgers continue to be their core business model, because McDonald’s depends on Argentina’s cheap soy for animal feed and sauces.

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Picture Credit: Mercosul Social e Participativo CC BY 2.0

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