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Argentina calls on Switzerland for judicial assistance

Former Argentinean President, Carlos Menem is flown to the High Court in Buenos Aries in a police helicopter


Argentina has asked Switzerland for judicial assistance in their investigation of the former president, Carlos Menem, who is accused of involvement in an arms scandal.

Last week, the Argentinean authorities sent three requests for judicial assistance to the Swiss Justice ministry. According to Folco Galli, a spokesman for the ministry, each request relates to a different charge facing Menem.

The first one concerns Menem's alleged part in the trafficking of arms to Croatia and Ecuador between 1991 and 1995, a time when both countries were at war.

The other two requests are to do with determining whether the former Argentinean Secretary General, Alberto Kohan, and the current economics minister, Domingo Cavallo, were involved in the scandal and whether they received kickbacks.

The Argentinean authorities suspect that the money, which changed hands during the alleged arms deals, was laundered through accounts in a number of countries, including Switzerland.

To this end, Argentina asked Switzerland to block a handful of Swiss bank accounts, which they say are linked to the affair. But according to Galli, the information provided by Buenos Aries was insufficient to warrant judicial intervention.

Galli explained that the three dossiers did not even state where the accounts were held and how much money was involved.

The Justice ministry has now asked for more information.

swissinfo with agencies


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