Argentine judge Claudio Bonadio, an instructor of a dozen cases for alleged corruption against former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her surroundings, died during the early hours of Tuesday at her home in Buenos Aires. The magistrate, 64, dragged the consequences of a brain injury that forced him to a delicate operation last year. Although he had already extended his vacation license until March, his death has been unexpected due to the zeal with which his environment handled the severity of his ailments.
With the death of Bonadio, Cristina Kirchner lost the man he accused of “hitman” and “gunman” and whom he always linked with an alleged maneuver by the Government of Mauricio Macri to get her out of the political career. Bonadio was a true judicial scourge for the former president, the first judge who prosecuted her in a case for alleged corruption. It was May 13, 2016, just five months after the former president left Casa Rosada. He did not do it for corruption, but for having harmed the State in an operation selling dollars shortly before the end of his term. The cause became known as “future dollar” and was the first in a long list.
Bonadio always tried to put Cristina Kirchner in jail, but ran into the Senate’s refusal to withdraw the privileges that protect her from preventive detention as a senator. That did not prevent him from advancing in a dozen investigations.
The causes that Bonadio brought against the former president added a dozen, including that of the “notebooks of corruption.” From those notes of a driver of power, which detailed trips bribes loaded with businessmen linked to public works and high corrupt officials, other secondary investigations were released. Bonadio prosecuted in that file a hundred businessmen and Cristina Kirchner as the head of an alleged illegal association set up from the State to raise illegal funds.
At the end of last year, Bonadio had already raised five cases against Cristina Kirchner to an oral trial, had summoned her to eight inquiries in a single day, and had issued nine preventive prisons, followed by requests for lawlessness to Congress. He also investigated his sons, Máximo and Florencia, for alleged illicit enrichment.
Cristina Kirchner always called attention to the “chance” that her files fell by lot in the court of Bonadio, at that point deserving of her most bitter enmity. “I was summoned by Bonadio to eight inquiries in one morning, this only happens here,” Kirchner recalled before a court last December, when the opening of the first oral trial he faced for corruption was held. He spoke then of lawfare, using the term that defines the abusive use of judicial cases by the political and media power.
The opinions about Bonadio were part of the political “crack” that divides the Argentines. Many saw in the magistrate the local version of the Brazilian Sergio Moro, the judge who took Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to jail. For Kirchnerism, however, Bonadio was the embodiment of all the evils of Argentine justice, fruitful in political operations against opponents and permeable to the pressures of power.
One of Cristina Kirchner’s most active lawyers, Gregorio Dalbón, wrote in networks “He died”, without further comment. Macrismo referents, such as former presidential candidate Miguel Ángel Pichetto and former Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, published a statement calling “that the causes he carried forward [el juez Bonadio] follow the rhythm that the judiciary needs so that justice arrives on time and is truly fair. “
The Government of Alberto Fernández had a problem in Bonadio that he did not know how to solve. Without the necessary votes to move it through the Council of the Magistracy, the body responsible for evaluating the management of the judges, sought an “honorable” exit under the formula of early retirement. But he didn’t realize that Bonadio was a survivor of a thousand battles.
Peronist declared, the judge came to federal courts in 1994, during the government of Carlos Menem (1989-1999). He had previously been secretary of Legal Affairs for Interior Minister Carlos Corach, the man who accumulated the most power during the 1990s. In 1996, the minister of Economy of that time, Domingo Cavallo, father of the “convertibility” of the peso with the dollar, denounced in the press that Bonadio appeared in a list that Corach had shown him of his handwriting with the judges that ” they played in favor of the government. ” Many of the magistrates on that list were removed, but Bonadio resisted.
Over the years, the judge accumulated more than 40 complaints against him in the Magistracy Council, from which he left unscathed. Cristina Kirchner sued him later for poor performance, without success. The death was finally taken to the man who put the president against the ropes.