Argentine leader could face criminal fraud probe

August 28, 2012 - 7:38 PM

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez could be in legal trouble. A federal prosecutor has found grounds for a criminal fraud investigation of the president along with her central bank chief, top tax collector and commerce secretary.

Argentine presidents face formal legal complaints all the time but rarely do they get this far.

On Tuesday, prosecutor Carlos Stornelli said evidence justifies a formal criminal investigation based on complaints filed by an opposition lawmaker over the president's use of emergency decree powers to use money from Argentina's central bank reserves to pay off foreign debt.

Legislator Elisa Carrio says bondholders benefited but the Argentine people were defrauded.

The prosecutor says the government preventing Argentines from legally trading pesos for dollars also appears to break the law.

A judge will decide whether to proceed.