Argentina’s vice-president, Amado Boudou, has been charged with corruption in his dealings with a company that printed the country’s currency while he was economy minister in 2010.
The vice-president will remain free while awaiting trial in the case along with five other defendants, according to a statement from Argentina’s federal court authorities. Federal judge Ariel Lijo decision ordered 200,000 pesos (£14,000/US$25,000) seized from Boudou.
Boudou is accused of secretly buying Ciccone Calcografica, a company contracted to print Argentina’s peso currency, while serving as the country’s top economic policymaker. He denies the charge along with any wrongdoing.
Boudou carried out minimal public functions in recent months as the investigation came to a head.
Boudou is the first sitting Argentine vice president to face such charges. He could be sentenced to between one and six years in prison, and a lifetime ban from elective office.
The accusation comes at a sensitive time for Argentina as the government battles in the US courts against “holdout” creditors who want full repayment of bonds left over from the country’s massive sovereign default in 2002.
Many Argentines have questioned why President Cristina Fernandez has remained loyal to her number two when allegations have made him Argentina’s least popular politician, opponents are threatening to impeach him and some allies say he should resign. His falling fortunes have left the government without a clear presidential successor ahead of the 2015 elections. Fernandez has yet to speak publicly about the case.