Argentine prosecutor who accused Fernandez of Iran plot found dead

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 19, 2015 2:30 AM

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - The Argentine prosecutor who had accused President Cristina Fernandez last week of trying to whitewash Argentina's worst ever bombing has been found dead in his flat, local media reported on Monday.

Alberto Nisman, the state prosecutor investigating the 1994 blast at a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people, said last Wednesday that Fernandez had opened a secret back channel to a group of Iranians suspected of planting the bomb.

He had said the scheme intended to clear the suspects so Argentina could start swapping grains for much-needed oil from Iran.

Ambito Financiero and other Argentine dailies reported Nisman was found dead in his bathtub in his flat in the luxurious Buenos Aires district of Puerto Madero. Lawmaker Patricia Bullrich told television channel TN that members of parliament would meet on Monday morning to discuss the situation. Nisman had been due to appear in front of lawmakers on Monday afternoon to explain his accusations against the president.

The security ministry could not be immediately reached for comment.

Argentine courts have accused Iran of sponsoring the 1994 bombing, a charge Iran denies.

In 2013, Fernandez tried to form a "truth commission" with Iran to jointly investigate the bombing. She said at the time that the pact would reactivate the probe, but Israel and Jewish groups said it threatened to derail criminal prosecution of the case.

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The truth commission pact was later struck down by an Argentine court.

Nisman had said the truth commission was intended to help get Interpol arrest warrants dropped against five Iranian suspects as a step toward normalizing bilateral relations.

(Reporting by Sarah Marsh and Maximiliano Rizzi; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)