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Diana Conti

Diana Beatriz Conti is an Argentine lawyer and politician. She is a member of the Argentine Chamber of Deputies and a former national senator.

Early years

Conti was born to Horacio Conti, a travelling salesman, and Martha Bascuas, a housewife who later qualified as a teacher. Bascuas was 17 when she gave birth to Diana, and the young Conti spent her early years at her grandparents' house. She was known in high school for her high grades. On December 16, 1980, she obtained her law degree from the University of Buenos Aires. Having graduated as a lawyer, she continued studying, while working at the same time. From 1981 to 198], she worked at her own law firm, and in 1982, she joined the social assistance team for prisoners in Ravignaggi-Garriga, and the judicial assistance department of the center for legal and social studies in Argentina. Politically, meanwhile, she was active for many years in the Revolutionary Communist Party. In 1983, she became chairman of a company named Corsetti S.A., a job from which she stepped down in 1985.

Years in the Justice

She was also a member of the contradictory cases legal assistance team from 1982 to 1985, and a public helper of problem youth from 1984 to 1985. On September 10, 1985, Conti formed part of an advisory council on human rights in Argentina.

1985 was a very productive year for Conti, who graduated with a degree in psychology that year. She tried to become secretary of first and second instance criminal forums in 1985 and in June 1989, losing narrowly both times in voting. In 1986, she became national secretary of first instance, on the correctional and criminal jury for first instance. Conti held that job until January 31, 1989. She had become a founding member of the citizen's correctional justice participation system organization's commission, and from February 1, 1989, she was secretary of the national appeals chamber, a job which she held until April 1, 1991.

Conti became the justice minister's cabinet helper in 1991. She held various administrative positions in Buenos Aires until 1994, when she left for Santa Fe, where she worked as Eugenio Raul Zaffaroni's legal helper for one month. She got a job on March 16 of that year as the University of Buenos Aires' penal rights and criminology department's secretary, so traveling between Buenos Aires and Santa Fe daily became a burden to Conti, who decided to quit her job in Santa Fe after only one month working there.

Politician and Stalinist

Conti became Argentina's human rights subsecretary on December 12, 1997, and she left her job at Buenos Aires University to concentrate on her new job. On December 26, 2001, she stepped down from that position, aiming to become a subsecretary for institutional reform and national strengthening of democracy in Argentina, a job that she obtained on January 23, 2002.

Conti had to step down from her new position however on July 2, when she was appointed as a national senator representing Buenos Aires Province for the FrePaSo party to complete the term of Raul Alfonsin, having been number two on his list at the 2001 election. She was a senator from July 3, 2002 until December 10, 2005. As senator, she was known for championing human rights causes. Although a member of FrePaSo, she was already seen as close to the Peronists, who she had served as a minister. Eventually she joined President Nestor Kirchner's Front for Victory bloc in her time in the Senate.

In December 2005, she was elected a deputy for Buenos Aires Province for the Front for Victory.is also known for several corruption acts as a member of the government.

In February 4, 2010, while she was defending Cristina Kirchner presidency a journalist - Jose Eliaschev - told her that the argument she was using remember the ones used by russian dictator Josef Stalin, and she said "yes, I have no problem to be a stalinist", and the journalist insisted "you are a supporter of one of the biggest murderers of 20th century, 20 million of people murdered? I am an stalinist, signed Diana Conti, can I record that?" the journalist said, and Diana Conti anwsered "Yes, I have no problem to be stalinist, maybe it is your problem, not mine".

Corruption scandal: "You can keep the change"

While she was a senator, she was accused by former Congress employee Bruno Bimbi of forcing him to give up a large part of his salary to her under the threat of losing his position. The case was initially dismissed by Judge Jose Codino at the end of August 2005, but the court of appeal reopened it some time later. The investigation is still in process and according to Bimbi, a lot of employees that appeared as Conti's staff in the official records during the investigation were completely unknown to him and to other real employees under Diana Conti's direction . These "fake employees" are a common practice among corrupt politicians in Argentina (see Noqui), and according to many, also the practice of forcing employees to give part of their salary in order for the senator to take either more employees or more money. One of the most ironic details of the case, according to Bimbi's words, is that the first time she forced him to give her the money he had just taken from the bank, given his stunned face she said: "You can keep the change".

Recent years

During April 2006, Conti returned to the public light when she began a campaign in favour of laws for harsher punishment to those found guilty of sexual harassment at work, regardless of sexual gender. A divorced woman, Conti has participated in several seminars and law clinics in Argentina.

In August 2009, the corruption accusations mentioned above transcended on the news since former Press Advisor Bruno Bimbi started to tell his story to Critica de la Argentina. The charges are being handled by the judge Canicoba Corral, part of the "Juzgado Nacional en lo Criminal de Instruccion N 29" .



External links

senado.gov.ar Senate profile

Interview, Diario Judicial, 2006-05-22

Profile, La Nacion, 2007-05-06

[*], Parlamentario.com, 2009-08-02

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