Carlos Zannini (left) was arrested in Río Gallegos by Federal Police after an arrest warrant was signed by Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio. (Télam / Walter Diaz)
  • High-profile Kirchnerite figures have been indicted by Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio on allegations that they sought to cover-up alleged Iranian responsibility for the AMIA bombing. Several of those figures, including former 2015 vice-presidential candidate Carlos Zannini, are now in custody.

The indictments are further to the indictment issued to former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Bonadio has asked for her immunity from arrest to be rescinded by the Senate. Bonadio is in charge of the complaint filed by late AMIA prosecutor Alberto Nisman in 2015 against Fernández de Kirchner and others in her government who had a role in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Iran that on paper called for judicial cooperation to investigate the 1994 bombing that claimed the lives of 85 people. Nisman accused the then-government of using the MOU as a front to whitewash Iranian responsibility for the bombing.

Bonadio brought charges of treason, participating in a cover-up and obstructing the acts of a public official against the defendants. Appeals have been promised.

Zannini, Daniel Scioli’s running mate on the Victory Front (FpV) ticket, was arrested in the early hours by the Federal Police in Río Gallegos, Santa Cruz province. As the former Legal and Technical secretary during the Néstor Kircher and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner administrations, Zannini had an outsized role in major policy decisions and their implementation. Questioned by Bonadio in October in relation to the accusations, Zannini denied any wrongdoing and of having participated in the Memorandum of Understanding. The former legal and technical secretary also said at the time that he did not fear being arrested in relation to the case. He is expected to be transferred to Buenos Aires tomorrow.

Former Foreign minister Héctor Timerman, a central figure in the negotiation and defense of the MOU, has been given house arrest for health reasons. In the immediate aftermath of Nisman’s complaint, Timerman was one of the loudest Kirchnerite voices proclaiming the legality of the MOU. Like his Kirchnerite counterparts, Timerman has contested the accusations against him every step of the way.

Also falling into Bonadio’s net were Luis D’Elía and Jorge “Yussef” Khalil, who were both accused of having a role in the development of the MOU. In particular, Nisman accused Khalil of having links to Tehran. D’Elía, a social activist who once held a position in Néstor Kirchner’s government and has remained a loyalist despite being left out of successive electoral lists, was close to Khalil. Both were taken into custody this morning.

Luis D'Elía was arrested this morning on orders issued by Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio (Télam / Gustavo Amarelle)
Luis D’Elía was arrested this morning on orders issued by Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio (Télam / Gustavo Amarelle)

Although they were also indicted today, arrest warrants were not issued for former Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) head Oscar Parrilli, FpV lawmaker Andrés “Cuervo” Larroque and former solicitor general Angelina Abbona. At the time of the signing of the MOU, Parrilli held the role of secretary-general of the presidency and was a close confidant of the then president. Larroque is a leading member of the FpV’s youth wing, La Cámpora and Abbona was the government’s chief legal adviser in her role as solicitor general. Each of them have denied any wrongdoing. Both Parrilli and Larroque have had international travel bans imposed on them by the judge.

Juan Martín Mena, former deputy director at the AFI, Allan Bogado and the former deputy Foreign minister Eduardo Zuain in the Kirchnerite period were all also indicted.

Fernando Esteche, the former leader of the nationalist Quebracho group, is reported to be negotiating his surrender to authorities. Esteche was also named by Nisman in the original complaint.