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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 February 2008, 05:09 GMT
Argentine ex-president charged
Fernando de la Rua, former Argentine president (image from 1999)
Mr de la Rua has denied any involvement in the alleged bribery
A federal court in Argentina has charged former President Fernando de la Rua with "aggravated bribery".

The charge relates to an alleged scheme to buy political backing from senators a year before his government collapsed in 2001, a court official said.

He is accused of bribing senators with millions of dollars in an attempt to push labour reforms through Congress.

Mr De la Rua, who governed Argentina from 1999 until December 2001, has steadfastly protested his innocence.

The former president will remain free pending trial, but the court ordered 500,000 pesos ($157,500) of his assets to be frozen.

He faces up to six years in prison if convicted.

Mr de la Rua is already being investigated for the part he allegedly played in the killing of five people during riots in 2001.

He fled the presidential palace shortly after the deaths as a severe economic, social and political crisis gripped the country.

SEE ALSO
Argentine judge accuses ex-leader
23 Oct 07 |  Americas
A tale of two Argentinas
11 Mar 06 |  From Our Own Correspondent
Timeline: Argentina
11 Oct 07 |  Country profiles

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