Argentina, Today in Latin America

Argentina: Former Pres. Menem Acquitted of Arms Smuggling

September 14, 2011 By Staff

Today in Latin America

Top Story — Former Argentine President Carlos Menem was acquitted Tuesday of illegally exporting arms to Ecuador and Croatia between 1991 and 1995. Menem, who headed the Southern Cone nation from 1989 to 1999 and is now a senator, faced a sentence of up to 12 years in prison if convicted of authorizing a 6,500-ton shipment of weapons to Croatia and Ecuador via Panama and Venezuela. Along with Menem, 17 other other defendants — including former ministers, retired military members and arms makers — were also cleared of charges. In the past, Menem admitted to signing the decrees, but said the transactions were legal because the weapons were being sent to peaceful countries. Prosecutors and those who argued for convictions were disappointed with the courts ruling. “I have charged 18 people, and every one of them was let off,” said prosecutor Mariano Borinsky. “But my team is going to keep working. We will appeal this ruling.”

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