Reuters: An Argentine judge on Tuesday seized a property belonging to a former Iranian diplomat who is sought on charges related to the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center.
BUENOS AIRES, Dec 16 (Reuters) – An Argentine judge on Tuesday seized a property belonging to a former Iranian diplomat who is sought on charges related to the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center.
The judicial order stems from a million-dollar lawsuit for damages by a survivor of the bombing, which killed 85 people and wounded more than 200 others, Prosecutor Alberto Nisman told Reuters.
Argentina has formally accused Iran of masterminding the attack and is seeking the arrest of high-ranking Iranian government officials.
Interpol, the international police agency, has issued arrest orders for six of the suspects.
Tehran has repeatedly denied involvement in the blast on July 18, 1994, when a truck laden with explosives leveled the seven-story Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) building, a symbol of the country's Jewish community — Latin America's largest.
No one has been convicted of carrying out the bombing despite a lengthy and botched probe, but Argentine, Israeli and U.S. officials have long blamed it on Hezbollah guerrillas backed by Iran.
A federal judge ordered the seizure after authorities discovered a Buenos Aires property in the name of a former Iranian cultural attache in Argentina who is among the officials being sought by the South American country.
"We found something that we didn't expect — that this person has property in his name in Argentina," Nisman said.
The building, which houses commercial space, is expected to be auctioned off and the proceeds given to the victim, if there is a definitive court ruling in the lawsuit.
(Reporting by Damian Wroclavsky; Writing by Kevin Gray, Editing by Fiona Ortiz and Sandra Maler)