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Apartment of ex-Argentine president Fernandez raided amid corruption probe

The former leader has been accused of a scheme involving public works contracts that has ensnared many former officials.

Argentine authorities have carried out a raid at an apartment owned by former president Cristina Fernandez as part of a case investigating widespread corruption.

Ms Fernandez, who is now a senator, has been accused of orchestrating a bribe scheme in the granting of public works contracts that has ensnared many of Argentina’s former officials and business elite.

She was among the 67 senators who approved the raids on three of her own properties following a request by a judge.

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Cristina Fernandez (Natacha Pisarenko/AP)

Ms Fernandez’s senatorial seat gives her immunity from prosecution. She denies any wrongdoing and claims she is being politically persecuted by a judge influenced by President Mauricio Macri to distract Argentines from the country’s economic turmoil.

Police officers carried out the raid in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires on Thursday. It was unclear what investigators hoped to find.

A crowd of journalists, curious onlookers and supporters of the ex-president gathered outside while at least a dozen police officers and other authorities wearing white jumpsuits and blue latex gloves searched the residence.

The alleged scheme is based on an investigation by a local newspaper into corruption during the administrations of Ms Fernandez and her late husband, Nestor Kirchner.

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The media outside the home of Cristina Fernandez (Natacha Pisarenko/AP)

The investigation found someone who helped deliver bags of cash to former officials in exchange for public contracts from 2005 to 2015 kept detailed notebooks. Ms Fernandez’s private address and the presidential residence were allegedly among the notes.

Several businessmen have admitted paying bribes under a plea-bargain agreement, and so far at least 16 people have been arrested in the case. They include leaders of construction companies and former officials who served in Ms Fernandez’s 2007-2015 administration.

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