Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner handed six-year jail sentence for fraud

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By Euronews with AP
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Vice president Kirchner, who was also president between 2007-2015, is unlikely to serve jail time. She has some immunity via her government roles and is expected to launch a lengthy appeals process.

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Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was convicted and sentenced on Tuesday to six years in prison and a lifetime ban from holding public office for a fraud scheme that embezzled US$1 billion (or €955 million) through public works projects during her presidency.

The verdict also outlined that Ms Fernandez de Kirchner would pay for the costs of the proceedings.

Fernández de Kirchner has dismissed the trial as a witch-hunt, insisting that she is innocent and the victim of a "judicial mafia".

Her supporters have vowed to paralyse the country with a nationwide strike. They clogged downtown Buenos Aires and marched on the federal court building, beating drums and shouting as they pressed against police barriers.

Prosecutors Diego Luciani and Sergio Mola said the Báez company was created to embezzle revenues through improperly bid projects that suffered from cost overruns and in many cases were never completed. The company disappeared after the Kirchners' 12 years in power, they said.

Either way, she remains the singular leader of the leftist faction of the Peronist movement. Bacman said his surveys show 62 per cent want her removed and 38 per cent support her, no matter what.

Meanwhile, other cases are still pending against her, including a charge of money laundering that also involves her son and daughter.

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