BUENOS AIRES : Argentina's former president Cristina Kirchner slammed a judge for charging her on Tuesday in a corruption case over public tenders awarded to a businessman friend, and ordering a freeze of her assets.

Kirchner, who was in office from 2007 to 2015, said as she left court the ruling was "a big maneuver of political persecution."

The judge, Julian Ercolini, charged Kirchner with illicit association and fraudulent administration for allegedly favouring a construction magnate friend, Lazaro Baez, in public contracts in Patagonia, her southern political bastion.

He ordered "an embargo on her assets of 10 billion pesos ($630 million)," according to a statement from the justice ministry. Kirchner's planning minister at the time of the tenders, Julio de Vido, was also charged.

Kirchner, 63, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Baez has been in jail since April. He was close to Kirchner and her late husband Nestor Kirchner, who preceded her as president from 2003 to 2007. Baez's fortune grew considerably during the Kirchner's three mandates.

In testimony, Kirchner had downplayed her ties to the businessman, saying "I am neither a friend nor an associate of Baez."