Argentina says fugitive spy chief flew to U.S. after prosecutor's death

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 07, 2015 3:34 PM

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - A fugitive former spy chief accused by the Argentine government of involvement in the murky death of a federal prosecutor in January flew from Brazil to the United States a month later, Argentina's security ministry said on Tuesday.

The ministry said Interpol in Brazil provided the information on Antonio Stiuso, one-time operations chief of the now disbanded Intelligence Secretariat, after a "blue notice" seeking details on Stiuso's location was issued last month.

Argentina suspects Stiuso is seeking refuge in the United States and has criticized Washington for failing to answer repeated enquiries about the spy master's whereabouts.

"A similar report is required from Interpol in Washington," the Security Ministry said in a statement.

Stiuso flew from Porto Alegre to Miami on Feb. 19 using an Italian passport, Argentina said, citing the report. Interpol declined to comment.

Relations between Argentina have the United States have soured under President Cristina Fernandez, who frequently rails against imperialist powers and gluttonous financial markets in the West.

Analysts say the latest rise in diplomatic tensions is a headache for the ruling party's presidential candidate, Daniel Scioli, who is said by advisors to favor improving Argentina's foreign relations. Argentina votes on Oct. 25

State prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found with a single bullet to the head days after accusing Fernandez of trying to cover up Iran's alleged role in the 1994 truck-bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires.

Fernandez and her ministers say Stiuso tricked Nisman into fabricating baseless allegations to destabilize the government and then needed him dead, and have previously questioned whether the spy chief was working for the United States.

The attack on the AMIA center killed 85 people, the deadliest in Argentine history. Iran has repeatedly denied any link to the bombing and an Argentine judge tossed out Nisman's accusations.

(Reporting by Richard Lough; Editing by Christian Plumb)