Special prosecutor Alberto Nisman was murdered, the court investigating his death said yesterday.
“The death of prosecutor Nisman was not a suicide, and was brought about by a third party and in a painful manner,” federal judge Julián Ercolini said in his ruling.
Diego Lagomarsino, the IT specialist who lent his former boss Nisman a 22-calibre pistol —the same weapon found to have killed Nisman — was charged as an accessory to murder. Four of Nisman’s former bodyguards were also charged for their alleged involvement in the crime.
Lagomarsino received the news while he was giving a live interview to Crónica TV on Tuesday. But he only addressed the charges publicly on Wednesday morning, speaking to journalists gathered outside his house, where he is prohibited from leaving for periods longer than 24 hours.
“I deny it completely”, he said. “What the charges outline never happened. I have nothing to do with what the judge says. (Nisman’s ex wife Sandra) Arroyo Salgado must explain the lies she has told”, he said. “Of course I’m afraid of going to prison because I’m innocent”, he added.
Ercolini charged Lagomarsino as a “accessory to the crime of homicide”. He also set an asset freeze to the tune of 15-million-pesos.
In his 656-page ruling, Ercolini questioned why, if Nisman had wanted to protect himself or even commit suicide, he had not obtained the hand-gun at his mother’s home or opted for other methods of suicide.
Prosecutors had requested in November that the case be considered as a homicide, insisting that Nisman was murdered by one or even two people.
Also charged yesterday were four of Nisman’s former bodyguards. Ercoloni handed them charges of breach of duty and concealment.
Nisman’s former bodyguards have echoed Lagomarsino’s claims of a domineering, controlling and unfriendly boss. Like Lagomarsino, a long-serving member of Nisman’s security team Rubén Benitez also claims that his former boss asked him to obtain a gun.
Nisman had refused to buy a gun because of the professional problems it could cause him, Benitez had told the courts in November.
MURDER AND TREASON
In his ruling, Erconoli took aim at the government of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner for “intentionally” trying to install in public opinion the idea that Nisman had committed suicide, citing the serious ramifications of the accusations Nisman had laid against the former government and of his subsequent death.
Nisman was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head in his apartment in 2015, a day before he was due to testify before Congress about his accusation that Fernández de Kirchner plotted with Iranian officials to cover up Iran’s alleged role in the terrorist attacks in the Argentine capital.
Prior to his death in January 2015, Nisman alleged that the government had offered impunity for Iranian officials (Moshen Rezai, Ali Fallahian, Ahmad Vahidi, Moshen Rabbani y Ahmad Asghari) in exchange for trade deals.
He cited the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2013 with Iran as an evidence of his allegations. The deal was approved by Congress in the same year but later declared unconstitutional by a federal court in 2014.
In early December, federal judge Claudio Bonadio filed arrest warrants for members of the 2011-2015 Fernández de Kirchner government and a request to strip the former president of her immunity from prosecution on accusations of treason.