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Argentina lawmakers block impeachment of vice president

AFP-JIJI

Argentina lawmakers refused Thursday to impeach Vice President Amado Boudou, charged last week with corruption during his years as finance minister.

Boudou, 51, is accused of bribery and “negotiations incompatible” with his position as a cabinet minister in buying a company that printed local currency, according to the official website of Argentina’s court system.

He is the first Argentine vice president to face such charges while in office.

A congressional commission rejected an attempt by opposition lawmakers — who hold the minority in the two legislative chambers — to bring impeachment proceedings against Boudou.

Boudou served as Argentina’s finance minister in 2009-2011 and ran as center-left President Cristina Kirchner’s vice president when she was re-elected to office in October 2011. The alleged misdeeds took place in 2010.

The charges allege that Boudou arranged to buy the bankrupt Ciccone printing press through a third party while he was finance minister, with the goal of obtaining government contracts to print currency and official documents. The press was later nationalized.