Ex-Argentinian minister says $9M he tried to hide in convent came from politics

BUENOS AIRES, Aug. 12 (UPI) — Jose Lopez, ex-Argentinian public works minister under former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, said $9 million he tried to hide in a convent came from politics.

Lopez was arrested in June after nuns at a convent called police about a man throwing bags into their compound. The bags were full of cash and jewels.

Buenos Aires provincial security chief Cristian Ritondo said Lopez “was caught red-handed with six bags, a suitcase and a weapon” at the time of his arrest.

Fernandez de Kirchner previously dismissed the incident as an act that could occur in all governments

“I don’t want to minimize anything, but I think those are episodes that can take place for any government,” she said.

Lopez has been receiving psychiatric treatment while imprisoned. He had not been questioned since his arrest as authorities were waiting for his mental health to stabilize.

“First and foremost I want to say I was looking forward to appearing before you right now. Not like the first time, when I was out of my mind,” Lopez said during testimony on Thursday, documents provided by Clarin show.

Lopez, who is being investigated for “illegal enrichment,” said his wife and the nuns at the convent were not involved.

“They didn’t know what was in them … My wife either. I always kept her away from my work and political work,” Lopez said. “What I will say regarding that money is that it didn’t belong to me, it belonged to politics. I will provide all the details when I have the necessary physical and psychological strength.”

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