Argentina suspects rogue agents behind prosecutor’s death

Alberto Nisman was investigating fatal 1994 bombing of Jewish centre in Buenos Aires

 

Argentina suspects rogue agents from its own intelligence services were behind the death of a state prosecutor investigating the deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires.

Alberto Nisman was found dead in his apartment late last Sunday, a gunshot wound to his head and a 22 calibre pistol by his side along with a single shell casing.

He had been scheduled to appear before Congress on Monday to answer questions about his allegation that president Cristina Fernandez had conspired to derail his investigation of the attack.

His death and a blizzard of conspiracy theories around it have rocked Argentina. The government says Nisman’s allegations and his death were linked to a power struggle at Argentina’s intelligence agency and agents who had recently been fired.

Misled

Anibal Fernandez

Argentine courts have accused a group of Iranians of planting the 1994 bomb, which killed 85 people. Nisman claimed last week that the president opened a secret back channel to Iran to cover up Tehran’s alleged involvement in the bombing and gain access to Iranian oil needed to help close Argentina’s $7 billion (€6 billion) per year energy deficit.

Ms Fernandez’s government called the accusation absurd.

Iran has repeatedly denied any link to the bomb attack.

The Argentine government’s chief of staff said yesterday that he didn’t believe Nisman even wrote his own report.

“I have worked quite a bit with prosecutor Nisman. I know he was a well qualified expert in the law. He could not have written this nonsense,” he said. “It is totally clear he had nothing to do with it, but there were people around him who had a different agenda.”

Although the government says there was a conspiracy to falsely accuse the president and then do away with Nisman, no one has been arrested in the case so far.

Officials initially said Nisman’s death looked like suicide, but the lead investigator says it is suspicious and that all leads are being followed.

The head of Argentine intelligence was replaced in December, resulting in the firing of agents who had been helping with Nisman’s investigation. Nisman had accused agents from another faction within the state intelligence apparatus of being part of Fernandez’s alleged plot to clear the Iranian suspects.

The president said that she did not believe Nisman took his own life.Those close to the late prosecutor have doubted from the beginning that he killed himself. Friends described him as upbeat ahead of his scheduled appearance before Congress on Monday. – (Reuters)