BUENOS AIRES (AP) — Argentina’s president and first lady will pay a fine of 3 million pesos ($24,000) for hosting a party in July 2020 that violated the quarantine orders the head of state himself had ordered to prohibit group gatherings as a way to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Federal Judge Lino Mirabelli approved the monetary compensation that had been agreed to between the prosecutor, Fernando Domínguez, and President Alberto Fernández and first lady Fabiola Yáñez.
The fine will take the form of a donation to Argentina’s Malbran Institute, a public institution that studies infectious diseases and has played a key role during the coronavirus pandemic.
Once paid, the fine will close a criminal case that was launched last year after photos emerged of the first lady’s birthday celebration at a time Argentines were largely forbidden from leaving their homes. Others who attended the party in the presidential residence in Olivos, Buenos Aires province, have also been charged and are currently in negotiations to seal similar financial agreements.
The photos of the celebration sparked a scandal amid outrage that the president was not following the rules he had set out for the rest of the population.
The images showed Fernández and Yáñez with nine others around a dinner table. None were wearing face masks.
Fernández will pay 1.6 million pesos and Yáñez, 1.4 million pesos.
In an interview last week, Fernández said it was his right as a citizen to propose a financial compensation in order to close a judicial case.