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Argentine ex-president charged
Carlos Menem is charged with obstructing inquiry into attack on Jewish centre.
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2009 20:49 GMT
Menem is also accused of being involved in smuggling weapons to Croatia and Ecuador in the 1990s [EPA]

Carlos Menem, the former president of Argentina, has been charged with obstructing an inquiry into the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.

Federal Judge Ariel Lijo charged Menem on Thursday in his investigation of irregularities that took place during the first government inquiry into the July 9, 1994, bombing.

Lijo also charged Munir Menem, the former president's brother, Hugo Anzorregui, the former head of the intelligence services, and Juan Jose Galeano, a retired judge who was in charge of the investigation for 10 years.

Menem, 79, who was president for two terms between 1989 and 1999 as head of the ruling Peronist party, was accused of covering up the possible involvement of a Syrian-Argentinean businessman in the blast.

Argentina's Clarin newspaper reported in 2005 that the man's grandfather had migrated with Menem's father from the same town in Syria.

The extent of the families' later contact was not immediately clear.

Menem rejected the accusations then, saying the allegation was "a libellous and nasty fable" and blamed it on Cristina Fernandez, the president, and her husband, Nestor Kirchner, a former president, who Menem said used the case "systematically and vilely" for political ends.

A truck bomb destroyed the seven-storey Argentine Israeli Mutual Association building, a centre for Latin America's largest Jewish community, in the attack.

Argentina has accused Iranian officials of plotting the attack and Interpol issued international wanted notices at Argentina's request for five Iranians, including senior officials.

Menem also faces charges in a separate case involving his role in a scheme to smuggle weapons to Croatia and Ecuador while both countries were involved in wars in the 1990s.

Source:
Agencies
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