The Argentine prosecutor who accused President Cristina Fernandez of orchestrating a cover-up in the investigation of Iran over the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center has been found dead in his apartment, authorities said on Monday.
Alberto Nisman, who had been delving into the blast at the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people, said last Wednesday Fernandez had opened a secret back channel to a group of Iranians suspected of planting the bomb.
He had said the scheme intended to clear the suspects so Argentina could start swapping grains for much-needed oil from Iran, which denies any connection with the bombing.
"Alberto Nisman was found dead on Sunday night in his flat on the 13th floor of the tower Le Parc, in the Buenos Aires district of Puerto Madero," the Argentine Security Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said Nisman's security guards had alerted his mother on Sunday afternoon that he was not answering his front door or phone, and the Sunday papers were still on his doorstep.
Nisman's mother found the door to his flat locked from the inside and had to get a locksmith to open it. She found her son's body on the floor of the bathroom, blocking the entrance, and called the police.
The Associated Press adds:
A special prosecutor who had accused Argentine President Cristina Fernandez of ordering impunity for Iranian suspects in the South American country's worst terrorist attack was found shot dead, authorities said Monday.
Alberto Nisman, who was set to testify Monday in a closed-door hearing, was found in the bathroom of his Buenos Aires apartment late Sunday, federal prosecutor Viviana Fein told Telam, Argentina's official news agency.
"We can confirm that it was a gunshot wound, .22 caliber," she said, adding that it was too early in the investigation to know what had happened.
Nisman had been appointed 10 years ago by Fernandez's late husband, then President Nestor Kirchner, to investigate the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people and injured more than 200. In 2013, Argentina and Iran reached an agreement to investigate the attack, which remains unsolved.
That year, Nisman released an indictment accusing Iran and Hezbollah of organizing the blast. Iran denies any involvement.
Last week, Nisman accused Fernandez and other senior Argentine officials of agreeing not to punish at least two former Iranian officials in the case. He asked a judge to call Fernandez and others, including Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, for questioning.
"The president and her foreign minister took the criminal decision to fabricate Iran's innocence to sate Argentina's commercial, political and geopolitical interests," Nisman said last week.
Government officials called the prosecutor's allegations ludicrous.