The Argentine prosecutor who accused the president of a cover-up over the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre, has been found shot dead.
The body of Alberto Nisman, who was 51,
was discovered by his mother in the bathroom of his 13th floor flat in Buenos Aires.
The authorities say security guards had alerted her that he was not responding to calls on Sunday. She had to get a locksmith to get into the flat. A gun was found at the scene.
“I can confirm that there was a gun, a 22 calibre gun. I can confirm that he died from a gunshot. I cannot confirm further details, I will find those out in the coming days,” said Viviana Fein, the prosecutor in charge of investigating Nisman’s death.
According to sources quoted in Argentine news reports, the prosecutor is believed to have committed suicide – but this information has not been confirmed.
The 1994 car bomb killed 85 people and wounded hundreds at the headquarters of the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Association in Buenos Aires, in Argentina’s worst ever terrorist attack.
In 2007 Argentine courts accused Iran of financing and planning the attack, and Hezbollah of carrying it out. The accusations were dismissed by Tehran.
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner tried to form a joint “truth commission” with Iran in 2013, to investigate the bombing.
Last week prosecutor Nisman accused the president of orchestrating a scheme to clear a group of Iranians suspected of planting the bomb, in order to facilitate a trade deal with Tehran. According to Nisman, such a move was seen as a step towards normalising bilateral relations and helping Argentina reduce its energy deficit by importing Iranian oil in exchange for grain exports.
Senior officials dismissed his claims. A presidential spokesman called them “ridiculous”; Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich had said Nisman’s allegations were “crazy, absurd, illogical, irrational, ridiculous, unconstitutional”.
A judge handling the bombing case accused Nisman of exceeding his authority, saying the evidence he put forward was flawed.
The dead prosecutor had been due to present his findings to a congressional committee this Monday.