Rodrigo Abd / AP

Prosecutor to question Argentine president in alleged bomb plot cover-up

Investigation into alleged 1994 bombing cover-up to move forward after the mysterious death of the previous prosecutor

The prosecutor who inherited a high-profile case against Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner on Friday reaffirmed the accusations, formally renewing the investigation into whether the president helped Iranian officials cover up their alleged role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

Prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita's decision to go forward with the case was significant because it sets the stage for a close examination of the investigation that prosecutor Alberto Nisman was building before he was found dead Jan. 18.

Nisman had accused Fernández, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and others in her administration of brokering the cover-up in exchange for favorable deals on oil and other goods from Iran. Fernández has strongly denied the accusations, and Iran has repeatedly denied involvement in the bombing, which killed 85 people. She will have to answer questions in the investigation, though not necessarily in person.

Pollicita will present his findings to judge Daniel Rafecas, the federal magistrate assigned to the case, who will ultimately decide whether to dismiss it or send it on to trial.

"An investigation will be initiated with an eye toward substantiating ... the accusations and whether those responsible can be held criminally responsible," said a document published by Pollicita.

Even before Pollicita's decision, amid rumors that it was coming, the administration was moving to both reject and minimize it.

Speaking to reporters early Friday, presidential spokesman Anibal Fernández said moving the case forward was a "clear maneuver to destabilize democracy" but that "it has no legal value. It does not matter."

Wire services

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