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The BBC's Richard Lister
"It is a step forward for those still looking for answers two decades on"
 real 56k

Friday, 25 August, 2000, 00:01 GMT 01:01 UK
Mexico boss held on torture charges
Soldiers in Argentina
Thousands 'disappeared' during the military regime
By Mexico correspondent Peter Greste

Police in Mexico have detained an Argentine national suspected of being a fugitive torturer wanted by a Spanish judge.

The police seized businessman Ricardo Miguel Cavallo in the southern resort town of Cancun.

He is known in Mexico as a leading businessman who runs the country's controversial new national car registry, known as Renave.

But Mexico's Reforma newspaper has accused him of being a former Argentine intelligence officer who ran a slave labour unit during the country's military dictatorship 20 years ago.

According to the newspaper, there is enough evidence to prove that he is in fact Miguel Angel Cavallo, a former intelligence officer who is suspected of terrorism and genocide during Argentina's military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983.

The story was splashed across the front page of the respected daily on Thursday morning and later police confirmed that they had intercepted Mr Ricardo Cavallo in Cancun on a flight bound for the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires.

The businessman denied the charges and said he was heading home to clear his name.

According to Reforma's investigation, an identity card number that Ricardo Miguel Cavallo submitted to the Mexican authorities in a residency application is the same one sighted by the Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzon, who wants to try Miguel Angel Cavallo on charges of torture and murder.

Argentine documents said the intelligence agent ran a slave labour unit at the feared navy school of mechanics.

The newspaper also interviewed several victims who identified photos of the Mexican-based businessman as their jailor and tormentor.

But in an interview with Reforma, Mr Ricardo Cavallo said it was nothing more than an elaborate plot to undermine his car registry business.

Interpol is now interviewing Mr Cavallo to decide just who he really is.

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19 Aug 98 | Top features
The Living Disappeared
12 Feb 99 | From Our Own Correspondent
Argentina's missing babies
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