November 28, 2018 / 1:04 AM / in 6 months

Techint CEO charged with graft in 'notebooks' scandal-source

BUENOS AIRES, Nov 27 (Reuters) - The chief executive officer of Argentine-Italian steel company Techint was charged with graft in Argentina on Tuesday, a source close to the case said, and shares in two subsidiaries declined.

Paolo Rocca, CEO of Techint, the parent company of steel firms Tenaris and Ternium, was charged by an Argentine federal judge, said the source, without elaborating.

The source did not want to be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue.

Reuters could not immediately reach Rocca.

The sprawling “notebooks” corruption case, centered on bribes allegedly paid by businesses to secure contracts from the administration of former President Cristina Fernandez, has already ensnared dozens of business owners and politicians.

Argentine media reported on Tuesday that Rocca was charged with illicit association and payment of bribes. Authorities froze 4 billion pesos (some $104 million) of his assets, according to local media reports.

“I was not involved in the payments, nor did I authorize them or was I aware of them,” Rocca told local media outlet Perfil.

The office of Claudio Bonadio, the federal judge who issued the indictment, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The “notebooks” scandal, as the case is known in Argentina, broke in August after a local news outlet published diaries kept by a former government employee.

The employee claimed the notebooks documented millions in bribes paid to officials of former administrations of Fernandez and her late husband and former president, Nestor Kirchner. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola Writing by Scott Squires Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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