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Friday, August 12, 2016

Ex-Argentinian Minister Says $9mn He Tried to Hide in Convent Came from Politics

Corruption by government officials is, I believe, rampant in most, if not all, 3rd world countries. I have complained many times about the incredible corruption in Nigeria, and I seriously doubt that there is a country in Africa where it does not thrive. 

That may also be true of South America. Brazil, was awarded the 2016 Summer Olympics because its economy was soaring and it appeared to be entering the industrialized world. The Olympic Games should have been a big step in that direction, but instead it has revealed utter failure for Brazil. While corruption was almost certainly not the cause of their demise, it certainly did not help - corruption to the highest levels of the government.

Now another emerging economy is revealing its corrupt underbelly to the world. 

In Canada, companies that do business internationally are punished for paying corrupt officials in 3rd world countries, but there simply is no other way of doing business with them. It's politics!

By Andrew V. Pestano  

Former Argentinian Public Works Minister Jose Lopez was arrested in June after trying to hide $9 million worth of cash and jewels in a Catholic convent. On Thursday, he said the money "belonged to politics." File photo UPI | License Photo

BUENOS AIRES, (UPI) -- Jose Lopez, ex-Argentinian public works minister under former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, said $9 million he tried to hide in a convent came from politics.

Lopez was arrested in June after nuns at a convent called police about a man throwing bags into their compound. The bags were full of cash and jewels.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
Buenos Aires provincial security chief Cristian Ritondo said Lopez "was caught red-handed with six bags, a suitcase and a weapon" at the time of his arrest.

Fernandez de Kirchner previously dismissed the incident as an act that could occur in all governments

"I don't want to minimize anything, but I think those are episodes that can take place for any government," she said.

Lopez has been receiving psychiatric treatment while imprisoned. He had not been questioned since his arrest as authorities were waiting for his mental health to stabilize.

"First and foremost I want to say I was looking forward to appearing before you right now. Not like the first time, when I was out of my mind," Lopez said during testimony on Thursday, documents provided by Clarin show.

Lopez, who is being investigated for "illegal enrichment," said his wife and the nuns at the convent were not involved.

"They didn't know what was in them ... My wife either. I always kept her away from my work and political work," Lopez said. "What I will say regarding that money is that it didn't belong to me, it belonged to politics. I will provide all the details when I have the necessary physical and psychological strength."