Mario Cimadevilla in a 2016 file photo. (Noticias Argentinas / Juan Vargas)

Mario Cimadevilla, who was until recently the head of the AMIA investigative unit, reported a break-in at his home in Chubut province that included the theft of documents and a hard drive. The former senator has ruled out that the incident was a run-of-the-mill robbery, and linked it to a possible act of intimidation.

The robbery took place on Saturday night in Trelew, Chubut province. Cimadevilla was out for dinner with his sons. He was called by the police with word of the break-in.

“When I arrived, I found the house turned upside down and the girl who works in the house was very upset with what had happened. I’ve ruled it out as a simple robbery because the criminals were asking for papers, documentation, and they took a hard drive from one of the computers,” said Cimadevilla on Sunday.

“Recently, I have accused Justice Minister Germán Garavano, of a cover-up of the AMIA investigation, in which there are people with links to the intelligence services involved, and we all know how they work, so I wouldn’t rule anything out from that activity, without blaming the minister himself.”

As quoted by the public news agency Télam, Cimadevilla also noted that “for years I have been accusing the [Das Neves government] of corruption, which is now coming to light, but I also have been speaking about the drug connections in the province,” and as such left the metaphorical door open for multiple motives for the break-in.

Cimadevilla headed up the AMIA unit with the Ministry of Justice until last month, amid an acrimonious split with Garavano over mutual accusations of irregularities that included a criminal complaint against the minister. The now-defunct AMIA unit has been absorbed by the Human Rights Secretariat, and had been tasked with representing the government’s efforts to contribute to the investigation into the 1994 AMIA bombing. The unit was separate from the team of prosecutors charged with investigating the bombing.

The most recent flashpoint was a dispute over whether or not as plaintiffs the AMIA unit should ask for prison sentences for former prosecutors who have been accused as part of the ongoing AMIA cover-up trial that long predates the accusation filed by late AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman against former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Cimadevilla wanted to request prison sentences, whereas lawyers aligned with Garavano did not. The Justice Ministry had also expressed frustrations with some of the administrative decisions made by Cimadevilla.

Mario Das Neves was governor of Chubut province until his death in October 2017, and he and Cimadevilla had an intense political rivalry.

The head of police in Chubut, Miguel Gómez, was quoted by Télam as saying that the robbery was “pretty strange” as “nothing of value was taken, like the seven televisions, a satellite phone that the lawyer uses to communicate with a rural property that is very expensive, or other elements, like an iPhone that was left behind.” El Patagónico has reported that Gómez noted that cash, an iPad, and weapons were also stolen.

The group of four criminals, who wore hoods at the time of the break-in, reportedly were in telephone communication, leading the police to conclude that the break-in was directed externally.