Ex-Argentine economy minister sentenced to 4 years in prison

December 27, 2012 (BUENOS AIRES, Argentina)

Felisa Miceli was forced to quit in 2007 when Argentine pesos and U.S. dollars' worth the combined equivalent of $52,000 were found in her office bathroom.

The unanimous ruling said Miceli was guilty of the "aggravated cover up" on an illegal financial maneuver and obstruction of justice for getting rid of a police report about the money. The local court also ruled that Miceli will be barred from holding any public office position for eight years.

The money was found by the federal police's explosives unit in a closet inside the office bathroom while they were inspecting the economy ministry.

Miceli served under President Cristina Fernandez's husband and predecessor, former President Nestor Kirchner. Throughout the trial, she claimed her innocence and said the money had been a loan by her brother and friend to buy a property and that she had temporarily placed in her office bathroom until she could deposit it in a bank.

"It was clear throughout the trial that there's no convincing evidence," Miceli told reporters after the court ruling. "I made a mistake but now it seems like it's a crime."

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