Argentina's ex-president Fernando de la Rua went on trial Tuesday, accused of paying $5 million in bribes to senators to pass a disputed labor reform bill in 2000.
De la Rua, 74, who fled the presidential palace during the country's economic meltdown in 2001, appeared calm as the trial opened.
He could face up to 10 years in prison if he is found guilty of the charges, which include "aggravated active bribery" and "misappropriation of public funds."
The former president has on several occasions denied that he bribed legislators and claims he is the victim of a political vendetta.
The labor reform measures allowed firms to hire workers with fewer conditions for shorter periods of time. The International Monetary Fund had made the reforms a condition for extending Argentina financial aid.
The scandal contributed to a political crisis and the worst economic collapse in the nation's history, which set off deadly riots that drove de la Rua from office.
Current President Cristina Kirchner, a senator in 2000 who voted against the labor law, is expected to give written testimony in the case.
Former parliamentary secretary Mario Pontaquarto -- who has confessed to the bribery scandal -- is also on trial.
Pontaquarto alleged that, acting on De La Rua's orders, he was in charge of handing $4.6 million to each of five senators so they would approve the labor reform law.
De la Rua resigned on December 20, 2001, amid a violent uprising in response to the economic collapse.
Other co-defendants include his former intelligence chief, Fernando de Santibanes, his labor minister, Mario Flamarique, and four of the former senators.
The trial is expected to last six to eight months, with nearly 400 witnesses expected to testify.