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Fri May 7, 2021, 04:30 PM

Argentina: Right-wing congresswoman recorded soliciting kickbacks

Argentine politics were rocked today by audio appearing to show Congresswoman Estela Regidor - a prominent member of the opposition, right-wing "Together for Change" alliance - soliciting kickbacks in exchange for sub-rosa consulting contracts.

"Each of you will collect 40,000 pesos ($405), and I know you have families - well I have a family, and I can't save the way I used to. Other legislators don't help people out by hiring them under the table the way I do," Regidor is heard telling prospective hires at a café in a January 25th recording.

"Your pay stub will say '80,000 pesos' ($810)," she explained. "You keep 40, and the other 40 you'll deposit in my savings account."

Regidor, 51, is the ranking member on the House Senior Citizens Committee - but is perhaps best known for arguing, during a 2018 debate on legalizing abortion (which she opposed), that "when dogs get pregnant, we don't take them to the vet for an abortion."

She announced a leave of absence, though leaders of her "Together for Change" caucus have so far remained moot on forcing her to resign.

The "Change" caucus has in the past campaigned on rescinding parliamentary immunity - but Regidor would be the second member of her caucus to retain her seat despite a corruption conviction: Aída Ayala, 67, was convicted in 2018 for racketeering, and had said conviction upheld on appeals.

Ayala remains in Congress however.

The same caucus succeeded in 2017 in having then-Congressman Julio de Vido (of the rival, center-left Peronist caucus) expelled on embezzlement charges - some of which were later shown to be based on a fabrication.

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=es&tl=en&u=https://www.pagina12.com.ar/340307-escandalo-denuncian-que-la-diputada-radical-estela-regidor-s

Argentine Congresswoman Estela Regidor arguing against abortion rights in 2018.

Audio released today shows her offering "consulting" contracts under the table - in exchange for half the proceeds.

Her right-wing "Together for Change" caucus has had numerous scandals over the past decade over consulting contracts - in which allies and personal associates collected varying sums (as much as $3 million) for "consulting" services which were either never rendered, or were worth far less.

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