Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was formally accused of attempting to cover up Iran’s alleged role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, a prosecutor said Friday. The allegations against the president originated in a lengthy investigation by federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who died under mysterious circumstances last month.
State prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita issued a statement Friday requesting investigations of both Kirchner and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman for their suspected roles during the aftermath of the bombing incident. Both figures were part of a nearly 300-page complaint Nisman prepared in January that accused them, as well as several other political associates, of colluding to grant immunity to Iranian officials that allegedly planned the attack. Nisman was found dead in his apartment a day before he was due to present his findings to a judge.
Pollicita had reviewed Nisman’s complaint before filing the charges. Judge Daniel Rafecas will now be tasked with deciding whether the case will face trial.
Since Nisman was discovered dead on Jan. 18 in his apartment with a bullet wound to his head and a shell casing and .22-caliber gun by his side, questions and conspiracy theories have swirled regarding his findings. His decadelong investigation, based on wiretaps of high-level officials, alleged that Kirchner and Timerman signed an agreement with Iranian authorities that secretly amounted to oil exports to Argentina in exchange for immunity for several Iranian government officials charged with orchestrating the bombing. The president has vehemently denied the accusations.
Since Nisman’s death, the national saga, involving several of the president’s other political allies as well as members of the national intelligence agency, has only grown more complex. Last week, investigators discovered a draft of a request to arrest President Kirchner and Foreign Minister Timerman in a garbage can in Nisman’s apartment, fueling even more speculation about the cause of his death.
The president initially supported early theories that Nisman’s death may have been a suicide but later reversed course, saying that he may have been a pawn in a larger scheme to destabilize her government.
President Kirchner cannot face prosecution while she is still in office unless Congress formally lifts her immunity. But she is also due to leave office at the end of the year when her presidential term ends.