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Thursday, November 19, 1998 Published at 06:34 GMT

World: Americas

Argentina reveals Nazi secrets

Argentina extradited Dinko Sakic for Nazi activities

An official commission in Argentina has discovered evidence suggesting that the country's former populist leader, Juan Peron, was more involved than previously thought in efforts to shelter Nazi war criminals after World War II.

The commission says documents show that Mr Peron approved the creation of a network to bring European immigrants, including war criminals, to Argentina.

The commission say 150 war criminals went through Argentina avoiding trial in Europe.

Officials from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre say that the true figure is likely to be much higher.

Sensitive nerve

The BBC's Javier Aparisi in Buenos Aires says many Argentines still revere Mr Peron's image and the latest revelations have touched a sensitive nerve.

The commission which is investigating Nazi activities in Argentina is composed of international experts and historians. It was created in response to accusations that some of the Nazi gold looted from Jewish victims of the Holocaust might have been transferred to Argentina.

Its final report will be published next year.

Argentina had been criticised in the past for not investigating this period and for obstructing attempts to bring suspected war criminals to justice.

However in the last few years the government has changed this policy and it has now extradited several alleged former Nazis to Europe to face trial.

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