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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 August, 2003, 19:53 GMT 20:53 UK
Menem arms charges dropped
Carlos Menem
Menem's presidency was plagued by corruption charges
An Argentine judge has dropped charges relating to arms sales against former President Carlos Menem.

Mr Menem was alleged to have consented to illegal arms shipments between 1991 and 1995 to Croatia and Ecuador, in defiance of UN weapons embargoes.

In 2001, Mr Menem spent five months under house arrest, while the judicial authorities looked into his possible involvement.

Judge Julio Speroni on Thursday also dismissed charges against Mr Menem's former Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo saying the case against both men "lacked merit".

Mr Menem and Mr Cavallo both deny the charges.

'Cover ups'

Other cases, however, have been allowed to proceed against former Defence Minister Oscar Camilion and former Deputy Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Olima for their failing to fulfil their duties and covering up offences.

Mr Menem served for two terms, governing Argentina from 1989 to 1999.

His government was repeatedly plagued by corruption scandals surrounding his top officials.

Mr Menem was freed from house arrest in November 2001 after the Supreme Court ruled prosecutors had failed to prove accusations that he headed an "illicit association" dealing in weapons.

He ran for a third presidential term this year, but dropped out of the run-off against now President Nestor Kirchner.

Argentina's lawmakers had recently ordered judges to speed up their investigations into Mr Menem.

Menem probe to speed up
13 Jun 03  |  Americas
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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