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Swiss Justice investigates 200 former Menem officials

Friday, January 30th 2004 - 20:00 UTC
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Argentine Minister of Justice Gustavo Beliz and Swiss magistrate Chritine Junod confirmed Thursday that “over 200 former officials” from the Carlos Menem administration are “under investigation” in Switzerland for alleged claims of corruption and money laundering.

Interviewed by a Buenos Aires radio station Mr. Beliz said that magistrate Junod is working following the filing of a claim by "Swiss banks" that "suspect money laundering" in Swiss secret accounts, and involving "over 200 former officials who are being investigated for irregularities" allegedly committed during the ten years of former president Menem's mandate.

However Adrián Menem a member of Congress and nephew of Mr. Menem said that Mr. Béliz had lost touch with reality, "is wrong in the head" and threatened with a civil and criminal demand for the allegations.

Justice Minister Beliz coincided with the Swiss magistrate when she admitted that the definition of "close to" Mr. Menem "is delicate".

Magistrate Junod confirmed that among those under investigation in Switzerland for alleged money laundering are the former Secretary of the Presidency of Mr. Menem, Alberto Kohan; his private secretary Ramón Hernández; his former brother in law Emir Yoma and the former head of the Minting Office Armando Gostanián.

Mr. Beliz also revealed that he had requested Argentine federal judges to speed the investigations in Argentina since it would be a "paradox" if Switzerland finally condemns Argentine former officials "and the Argentine Federal Justice hasn't concluded at least one of those cases".

Mr. Beliz added that the Argentine government and the Swiss Justice are anxious to collaborate in having access to Swiss banks secret accounts so it's time for "our magistrates to begin requesting that information".

"We're quiet certain there's corruption money laundering in at least three accounts belonging to former president Menem, Ramón Hernández and another collaborator by the name of Héctor Fernandez, since it was the same Swiss banks that filed the claims", said Mr. Beliz.

"This is not an abstract matter since the Swiss banks by law when they suspect money comes from drugs, terrorism, laundering or corruption they must file a claim and this is what they have done with these three accounts".

Categories: Mercosur.

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