A calligraphy analysis of the photos of eight notebooks that allegedly describe corruption committed during the governments of Néstor and Cristina Kirchner found the writing in the notebooks had been altered before the judiciary received them.
The notebooks are the key elements of the case known as Causa Cuadernos (“Notebooks Case”), a judiciary probe that began August 1, 2018. in which hundreds of businesspeople and public officers, including current vice president Cristina Kirchner (CFK), were investigated for bribes, irregularities in public works tender and fraud to the public administration.
They were allegedly written by Oscar Centeno, who worked as a driver for Roberto Baratta, the right hand of former Federal Planning Minister Julio De Vido (2003-2015). In them, he kept track of what he allegedly saw while working for Baratta, including how they made him receive and deliver bribes from construction business people for the tender of public works.
In October 2022, CFK was acquitted in the probe after federal judge Julián Ercolini concluded that there was no evidence that the alleged bribes involving her had ever happened.
The calligraphy experts commissioned by judge Marcelo Martínez de Giorgi of Federal Oral Court Number 7 (TOF, by its Spanish acronym) to analyze the notebooks concluded that they had been altered by Jorge Bacigalupo, a former policeman and friend of Centeno who had been in possession of the documents before the judiciary received them. The experts worked with images taken of the notebooks’ pages, not the original notebooks.
The experts discovered that one of the notebooks had parts that had been “added and amended.” When compared to other documents, these adulterated segments matched Bacigalupo’s handwriting. Some parts of the text were crossed out, and there were also variations in the pressure applied by the pen, showing a lack of spontaneity the experts said “could be attributed to a nervous state.”
However, since they only had access to pictures of the notebooks and not the original material, the experts said their analysis was limited, adding that they could obtain more accurate results if the actual notebooks had been available. The TOF 7 has the originals in a vault and denied the experts access.