Menem rejects Iran bribery allegations

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The Independent US

Argentine and Swiss officials are studying allegations that the former president Carlos Menem pocketed a $10m (£7m) bribe from Iran and covered up Tehran's complicity in a 1994 car bomb that killed 86 people at a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires.

The leading Peronist politician, who plans to run for the presidency again next year, dismissed the charges as a smear campaign yesterday and denied any contact with anti-Semitic plotters or the existence of personal Swiss bank accounts.

Folco Galli, a Swiss justice official, said two Swiss bank accounts linked to Mr Menem through his daughter and a business had been frozen and that Argentina had asked Switzerland for help.

He told reporters there was "a suspicion that Iranian authorities transferred $10m to Menem via a Geneva bank account in return for Menem agreeing to say that there was no evidence that Iran was responsible for the attack".

The case heightens concern over Iran's purported sponsorship of Hizbollah and other terrorist groups abroad.

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