(AFP) Argentine President Cristina Kirchner was formally accused Friday of shielding Iranian officials from prosecution over a 1994 bombing at a Buenos Aires Jewish center, prosecutors said.
The prosecution move advances the case against Kirchner that was being pursued by late prosecutor Alberto Nisman before he died mysteriously on the eve of congressional hearings on his accusations.
The accusation now goes to the judge in the case, Daniel Rafecas, to decide whether to call Kirchner to make a statement.
Kirchner has been under fire since Nisman turned up dead after accusing her of covering up the involvement of high-ranking Iranian officials in the deadly bombing, in exchange for oil.
The new prosecutor in the case, Gerardo Pollicita, accepted Nisman’s conclusions and accused Kirchner, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and other government officials of mounting a cover-up and violating their duties, according to a prosecution statement.
Nisman, 51, was found in his Buenos Aires apartment with a gunshot wound to the head on January 18.
His death was initially labeled a suicide, but suspicion has fallen on Kirchner’s government. The president has suggested Nisman was manipulated by disgruntled former intelligence agents who then killed him to smear her.
Timerman insisted this week that he and Kirchner did not benefit from Nisman’s death.
“Who gained by having Mr. Nisman dead?” he told the Washington Post. “Not me. Not the president.”
Timerman said that as a Jew he would not turn his back on his people and their history by derailing the investigation of the 1994 attacks.
“For what? To get what? Oil? Argentina does not import oil. We don’t need oil,” Timerman said.
In fact, Argentina today has oil, and does not need imports, thanks to the fracking boom.
But as recently as 2011 — during Kirchner’s term as well as her husband (Nestor Kirchner)’s before her — Buenos Aires was spending billions of dollars a year on oil imports when global prices were still sky high.
Meanwhile, Argentine forensic experts began work Tuesday to trace the source of unidentified DNA found at Nisman’s home.
Investigators searching the prosecutor’s apartment uncovered DNA that differed from his but has not yet been identified.
“It remains unknown who the genetic profile that differs from Nisman’s corresponds to,” said Judge Fabiana Palmaghini.