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Last Updated: Friday, 13 June, 2003, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Menem probe to speed up

By Peter Greste
BBC correspondent in Buenos Aires

Carlos Menem
Menem: Scorned after pulling out of recent presidential elections
Argentina's lawmakers have ordered two judges to speed up their investigations into alleged corruption by the former president Carlos Menem.

The inquiries have been stalled for years, but since Mr Menem withdrew from last month's presidential elections, there has been renewed pressure to pursue the allegations.

The charges that Mr Menem is facing are nothing new - illegal enrichment, and the failure to declare foreign bank accounts, are allegations that the former president has fought off for years.

But now that the man once thought of as Argentina's supreme powerbroker is politically broken, there's a renewed effort to make him answer the charges.

The case against Mr Menem is based on a Swiss bank account containing $650,000 - the alleged proceeds from an illegal sale of weapons to Croatia and Ecuador at a time when both countries were under UN arms embargoes.

Mr Menem has already spent time in prison over the weapons sale, though last year the case was thrown out and he was released.


His critics say that is because he used his influence in the courts to pervert justice.

Mr Menem himself says it is because the case was trumped up by his political enemies.

But with a new government now in charge of Argentina, there is a strong push to rid the administration of all of Carlos Menem's appointees, and make him and his allies formally respond to allegations that his was one of the most corrupt governments in Argentina's history.

Menem pulls out of Argentina race
15 May 03  |  Americas
Menem protests his innocence
06 Jun 01  |  Americas
Menem marries his beauty queen
26 May 01  |  Americas
Profile: Carlos Menem
22 Apr 03  |  Americas

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