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article imageEx-judge guilty in Argentina of cover-up in 1994 Jewish bombing probe

By AFP     Feb 28, 2019 in World

The former Argentine judge who led the probe into the deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires was jailed for his role in a cover-up Thursday, but the country's former president Carlos Menem was acquitted.

Juan Jose Galeano was jailed for six years for concealment and violation of evidence.

Former intelligence chief Hugo Anzorreguy was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail for his role in the cover-up surrounding the bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) center, which killed 85 people and injured 300 others.

They were among 13 defendants facing a slew of corruption and obstruction of justice charges in a trial that lasted four years.

The court sentenced Carlos Telledin, a used car dealer who sold the van that contained the bomb, to three-and-a-half years in jail.

The court found Galeano paid Telledin $400,000 to implicate a group of police officers in the bombing. Galeano denied prosecutors' assertions that he had acted on the orders of Menem, who is now 88.

No one has ever been convicted of the bombing, though Argentina -- and Israel -- have long pointed the finger at Iran.

They suspect a Lebanese Hezbollah operative of carrying out the suicide bombing on Tehran's orders.

But decades of investigation in Argentina have been roiled by political interference and allegations of corruption.

Prosecutors had called for a four-year jail sentence for Menem, Argentina's president from 1989-1999, on grounds that he ordered a cover-up.

The aging statesman gave little away in his testimony, saying state secrets meant he was prevented from presenting bombshell evidence.

His lawyer explained to the court in 2016 that Menem declined to reveal any information "that could affect the current government, the interests of the nation, and peaceful coexistence with other nations."

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