BUENOS AIRES: Argentina’s former vice president, Amado Boudou, was sentenced to nearly six years in prison on Tuesday after being found guilty of corruption while serving under former president Cristina Kirchner.
The charges related to Boudou’s attempt to buy a company that printed currency through a front business while serving as Kirchner’s economy minister.
A court found the 55-year-old guilty of “passive bribery” and conduct “incompatible” with his duties as a public servant, sentencing him to five years and 10 months in prison.
Boudou, who served in Kirchner’s cabinet from 2009 to 2015, has been banned for life from holding public office.
His lawyers are expected to appeal the conviction. Argentina has recently been rocked by another major corruption scandal involving top political and business figures and compared to neighboring Brazil’s sprawling Operation Car Wash probe.
Kirchner, who served as president from 2007 to 2015, has been summoned for questioning next week amidst allegations that tens of millions of dollars in bribes were funneled to the presidential residence, executive mansion, and offices.
Ever since she left office, her administration has been beset by various corruption allegations and convictions.
Boudou told the court that he never negotiated a 70 percent stake in Ciccone Calcografica eight years ago, saying the “alleged bribe has no basis or link to the evidence because it didn’t exist.”
Five other entrepreneurs were convicted alongside Boudou, including the company’s former owner Nicolas Ciccone, who was given a four-and-a-half-year jail term.
At the beginning of the year, Ciccone was granted a release from detention into house arrest as his partner, former Mexican politician Monica Garcia de la Fuente, was expecting twins.
Laura Alonso, head of the anti-corruption office, said this case showed the country had confronted official corruption in an “open and public trial” and that there is “justice in Argentina.”
The court found Boudou guilty of trying to lift a bankruptcy declaration against Ciccone in return for a 70 percent share in the business.
Amongst those also convicted were Argentina’s former representative to the World Bank, Guido Forcieri, who was given a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence.
The more recent corruption case revolves around allegations that the planning ministry applied pressure to businessmen to contribute to the election campaigns of both Kirchner and her husband Nestor, whom she succeeded as president.
A businessman who has admitted paying such contributions, Juan Carlos de Goycoechea, surrendered to police on Friday and asked for protection under an “accused collaborator” program.
Prosecutors believe a total of $160 million could have been paid in bribes.
Since this case came to light last week, 16 ex-government officials and businessmen have been arrested in dozens of raids. They face charges of conspiracy in a bribery and kickback scheme.
Land Grabbing: Mansha Khokhar arrested!
ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Secretariat Police today arrested an absconding suspect Mansha Khokhar alias Mansha Bomb from premises of Supreme Court as he was wanted in land grabbing cases.
According to the source, he came to the court and wanted to surrender himself before the court. He also demanded to meet Chief Justice, the source said adding that Mansha and his sons are accused of illegally grabbing land in Lahore’s Johar Town area.
It is to mention that Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Saqib Nisar had ordered immediate arrest of the alleged land grabber last month, however, he was absconding since then.
The source said that he had been shifted to Secretariat Police Station by its SHO and further legal proceedings will be initiated against them. He may be handed over to Punjab police, the source maintained.
14 killed in bomb attack on Afghan election rally!
KUNDUZ: A motorcycle carrying explosives blew up among supporters of an Afghan election candidate on Saturday, killing at least 14 people, officials said, in the latest attack on a political rally.
Violence related to the parliamentary vote has killed or wounded hundreds of people in recent months and more militant attacks are expected ahead of Afghanistan’s October 20 poll. More than 30 people were wounded in the explosion in the northeastern province of Takhar where candidate Nazifa Yousefibek had been campaigning, provincial governor spokesman Mohammad Jawad Hejri told the Media. Interior ministry deputy spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said most of the 14 killed were civilians.
“The explosives were placed in a motorcycle and detonated behind a tent where Nazifa Yousefibek was campaigning,” Rahimi said. Yousefibek was not hurt in the blast. No group has claimed responsibility. Ambulances have been sent to the remote district of Rustaq where the attack happened, but officials also are seeking to airlift the wounded to hospitals, Hejri said.
Khan Jan, who told AFP he saw the explosion, said there had been a powerful blast and “a lot of people” had been killed. More than 2,500 candidates are contesting the long-delayed legislative elections. At least nine candidates have died so far, most of them in targeted killings, according to the Independent Election Commission. A candidate was among eight people killed in a suicide attack in the southern province of Helmand – a Taliban stronghold – on October 9. No group has claimed responsibility. That incident came a day after the Taliban warned candidates to pull out of the “bogus” election, describing it as a “malicious American conspiracy”.
The group vowed to attack the ballot and those involved in it. An attack on a rally in the eastern province of Nangarhar on October 2 killed 13 people and wounded more than 40. The Islamic State group claimed the attack, which the candidate survived. Violence had been expected to escalate ahead of the poll. Preparations for the ballot, which is a test run for next year’s presidential vote, have been in turmoil for months and there has been a debate about whether the vote should go ahead.
Bureaucratic inefficiency, allegations of industrial-scale fraud and an eleventh-hour pledge for biometric verification of voters threaten to derail the process, which is three years late. Some 54,000 members of Afghanistan’s beleaguered security forces will be responsible for protecting more than 5,000 polling centers on election day. But there are concerns over how they will manage as the Taliban and the Islamic State group step up attacks across the country.
Facebook says data breach affected 29 million users
Cyber attackers stole data from 29 million Facebook accounts using an automated program that moved from one friend to the next, Facebook Inc (FB.O) announced as the social media company said its largest-ever data theft hit fewer than the 50 million profiles it initially reported.
The company said it would message affected users over the coming days to tell them what type of information had been accessed in the attack.
The breach has left users more vulnerable to targeted phishing attacks and could deepen unease about posting to a service whose privacy, moderation and security practices have been called into question by a series of scandals, cybersecurity experts and financial analysts said.
The attackers took profile details such as birth dates, employers, education history, religious preference, types of devices used, pages followed and recent searches and location check-ins from 14 million users.
For the other 15 million users, the breach was restricted to name and contact details. In addition, attackers could see the posts and lists of friends and groups of about 400,000 users.
Lawmakers and investors have grown more concerned that Facebook is not doing enough to safeguard data. Facebook cut the number of affected users from its original estimate after investigators reviewed activity on accounts that may have been affected. Still, cybersecurity experts warned that attackers could use stolen information in targeted phishing scams.
Facebook said it was continuing to investigate whether the attackers took actions beyond stealing data, such as posting from accounts but had not found additional misuse. Hackers did not steal personal messages or financial data and did not use their access to accounts to access users’ accounts on other websites, Facebook said.