May 20, 2013
De La Rúa pleads not guilty
Former president Fernando de la Rúa assured he is innocent and denied that bribes were paid in order to pass the labour reform bill in 2000.
“I come to exercise my defense to clarify and prove my innocence and the inexistence of what I’m accused of,” said De la Rúa as he began testifying. He quickly deemed the “charges against him as absurd and based in lies and contradictions,” as he faced Judges Gerardo Larrambebere, Miguel Pons and Guillermo Gordo.
Although attorneys had requested that he testified for two hours and to continue on Wednesday, because he had arrived at the Comodoro Py courthouse very early today and listened to former Parliament Secretary Mario Pontaquarto four hour- long testimony.
“I came to defend myself, my family and I am aware that I am defending the presidential institution,” the 74 year old former president said-
Pontaquarto has confessed picking up US$5 million from the State's Intelligence Service (former SIDE current SI) headquarters, and giving US$4 million to senator Emilio Cantarero, and US$1 million to José Genoud.
Seventy-four-year-old De La Rúa who fled the Government House in a helicopter during the country's economic crisis critical moments in 2001, faces up to ten years if found guilty of the bribery charges.