Former transport minister jailed over deadly train crash in Argentina

2018-10-11 16:20
Argentina's ex-Planning Minister Julio de Vido. (Natacha Pisarenko, AP, File)

Argentina's ex-Planning Minister Julio de Vido. (Natacha Pisarenko, AP, File)

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A former transport minister has been jailed for almost six years in Argentina for his role in a 2012 train crash that killed 51 people, court officials said on Wednesday.

Julio De Vido was convicted of defrauding the state by siphoning money from public works projects, indirectly leading to the wreckage.

The 68-year-old, who was a planning minister with responsibility for transport during the 2007-2015 administration of former president Cristina Kirchner, says he is the victim of political persecution.

He was already in prison as part of a sweeping anti-corruption investigation.

The disaster unfolded on February 22, 2012 when a passenger train crashed into the retaining wall at the end of the platform in a terminal in Argentina's capital Buenos Aires.

The scandal led Kirchner to renationalise and modernise the railway service.

Kirchner, 65, and her late husband, Nestor, whom she succeeded as president in 2007, are suspected of having accepted millions of dollars in bribes from businessmen in exchange for public works contracts.

De Vido and his deputy Jose Lopez managed the federal government's public works projects under the Kirchners and are among more than a dozen former government officials, as well as 30 elite businessman, implicated in the case.

They were the only two ministers to survive the various cabinet reshuffles across the couple's 12 years in power.

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