Deceased Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman had considered arresting President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the lead investigator into his death said, one day after a government minister ridiculed the claims.
A draft document calling for the detention of President Fernandez and members of her government was found in Nisman’s apartment following his death on Jan. 18, prosecutor Viviana Fein said. Fein said a statement published Feb. 2 by the general prosecutor’s office denying the existence of the draft was an error.
“The drafts are there, they’ve been incorporated as part of my role,” Fein said in a radio interview on Vorterix. “They have to do with the allegations by doctor Nisman, as was anticipated by the media, seeking the arrest of the president.”
Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich on Feb. 2 tore up a copy of an article published in Clarin on Sunday that said Nisman, 51, had sought Fernandez’s arrest for trying to cover up the alleged involvement of Iranian officials in a 1994 bombing in exchange for trade benefits. Nisman’s death, a day before he was due to present evidence to congress, has roiled Argentine politics and captivated public opinion.
In 2006, Nisman linked the bombing that killed 85 people to Iran and Hezbollah and issued eight arrest warrants. Seven years later, Fernandez signed a memorandum of understanding with the Iranians to set up a joint panel to probe the case.
According to Nisman, the aim of the accord was for Iranian officials to be taken off Interpol’s wanted list. In exchange, Argentina would export grains and meat to Iran and receive oil.
The draft document that included the request for the arrest of Fernandez, was dated June 2014 and was found in the trash can of Nisman’s house, Clarin reported. It was not part of the broader dossier of evidence against Fernandez published on the Internet, she said.
Fein assigned two prosecutors to continue the investigation when she leaves for holiday for two weeks later this month.
The discovery of Nisman’s body slumped against the door of his bathroom in a locked house surrounded by security agents triggered a series of conspiracy theories. Prosecutor Fein said today his apartment building in the upscale neighborhood of Puerto Madero had “serious anomalies” that allowed for people to enter and leave without being detected.
Fernandez has said she is convinced Nisman was killed in order to dirty the reputation of her government, while others suspect he was murdered to halt his investigation.
The president has ordered the intelligence agency to be overhauled after indicating that former spies fed Nisman with false information to promote his case against her.
With just nine months left in office, Fernandez’s image is suffering from the scandal. A poll conducted by Management & Fit published Feb. 1 showed that 84.5 percent of the 1,000 people surveyed thought the Nisman case will either largely or somewhat affect her image.
Capitanich, who spoke today at the same time as Fein, said Clarin’s reporting of the case was another “operation by the press, looking through the trash.” He didn’t say if the draft document existed or not.
Secretary General Anibal Fernandez said Fein’s contradictions were an “embarrassment” and asked whether someone had given her the document. While questioning the report’s authenticity, he told La Red radio station that its discovery in the garbage was proof that Nisman knew his accusations wouldn’t stand up in court.
“Nisman must have realized what rubbish it was and so he had to backpedal,” Fernandez said.