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New judge eyes Fernandez in 1994 AIMA bombing cover-up

Former Argentina President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner may not be off the hook in the investigation into whether she helped cover up the involvement of Iranian officials in a 1994 bombing. A new judge wants the case.

Argentinien Cristina Fernández de Kirchner

A judge is considering restarting the investigation into an alleged cover-up over the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, news agencies reported Tuesday. In January 2015, prosecutor Alberto Nisman was found dead with a bullet in his head in his home shortly after announcing his accusations against Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner - who was still the president at the time - and just before he could present evidence in Congress.

"The case has been closed for the inexistence of a crime," the magistrate Daniel Rafecas told the Spanish news agency EFE on Tuesday, after accepting a request for the files from Judge Claudio Bonadio. "Technically, there's not a case. What Dr. Bonadio could do is open a new investigation - but exclusively based on new evidence." He added that "I am obligated to send it to him so that he has it hand to consult it, so that he can evaluate or study all the findings of my inquiry."

Rafecas had refused just days earlier to reopen the case against Fernandez, which he closed in 2015.

A mysterious death

Prosecutors accuse Iranian officials of involvement in the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center, which killed 85 people and injured more than 300. Nisman believed Fernandez had negotiated with Iran's government to cover up the role of several Iranian officials.

The prosecutor had apparently planned to present evidence against Fernandez, a center-left politician who governed Argentina from 2007 to 2015, to Congress before authorities found him dead of a single gunshot wound in his apartment in 2014. His death remains unsolved.

Bonadio has presided over an investigation of Fernandez's foreign minister, Hector Timerman, in the case. Nisman had alleged that the president and her foreign minister conspired together.

Fernandez says Bonadio has pursued her with the blessing of her successor as president, the right-wing Mauricio Macri. Bonadio has also investigated Fernandez for alleged illicit enrichment and for a 2015 government securities fraud scheme that led to a sharp drop in the central bank's foreign currency reserves.

mkg/bw (EFE, AP)

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