Updates on Prosecutor Moldes, Prosecutor Viviane Fein and Fernando Esteche

I. “La causa está viva”: Prosecutor Germán Moldes to continue in front of Nisman’s complaint

Foreign Minister Hector Timerman, one of the officials implicated by Nisman before his death, was the second to attempt to remove Moldes; the case “is still alive”

A three-judge panel in Argentina reaffirmed prosecutor Germán Moldes in front of the appeal before the Cassation Court of the late prosecutor Alberto Nisman’s January 2015 complaint against President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and other officials and political activists. Moldes, who publicly committed to pursuing the complaint after Nisman was found dead the day before he was to present his findings to Congress, has been the target of multiple attempts to recuse him from the case. The latest attempt, filed by Timerman, was unanimously rejected Thursday by the appellate panel.

Moldes told Radio Mitre Thursday that he was confident he would be kept in place, despite repeated attempts by the Argentine government – the target of Nisman’s findings—to use every recourse to stop it from advancing. Moldes explained that “the recusals form part of a whole rosary of impediments and obstacles with the goal of delaying and holding back this case.” He recalled that the Federal Appeals Court ruling, which upheld a lower court dismissal of Nisman’s complaint without a single evidentiary measure taken, “is not final. There is the recourse before Cassation that is next. The case is still alive. They will say to me later that it’s on an official respirator or in intensive care, but it’s alive.”

II. Prosecutor Viviana Fein survives challenge from Judge Arroyo Salgado

Judge Fabiana Palmaghini ruled against the former wife of the late Alberto Nisman, Judge Sandra Arroyo Salgado, in her demand to recuse Viviana Fein from the investigation of Nisman’s death. Further, the judge accused Arroyo Salgado of delaying the investigation: “I would recommend that you direct your efforts toward clarification of the facts, having as a goal the objective truth,” the judge wrote to Arroyo Salgado.

Immediately after she was reaffirmed in her position, Fein proceeded with forming a joint medical panel to oversee the two differing autopsy reports, from the family’s investigation and Fein’s own, to attempt to reconcile the facts. Fein also rapidly proceeded to carry out another visual inspection of Nisman’s apartment and will also obtain testimony from Nisman’s mother, Sara Garfunkel.

III. Activist in center of “parallel diplomacy” revealed in Nisman’s complaint leaves prison

La Nacion reports that Fernando Esteche, the leader of the Argentine activist group Quebracho which is regarded as anti-Semitic, held his first class since leaving prison after serving time for “damage caused in a demonstration against the arrival of a mission from the International Monetary Fund and a local supporter of the former governor of Neuquén Jorge Sobisch.” Esteche was implicated as a central figure in Alberto Nisman’s January 2015 complaint, where an alleged “parallel diplomacy” was being carried out through non-government figures and a local Iranian agent, to help cover up Iran’s involvement in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA. Esteche’s role was revealed through wiretaps included in Nisman’s initial evidence.

Esteche – a longtime ally and supporter of the Kirchner government—turned to a faculty chair at the University of La Plata, where he told students that, despite the evidence in Nisman’s complaint, it was “an international operation” against Argentina. Esteche’s two-hour lecture covered, according to the newspaper report, “the conflict between Israel and Palestine, the situation in Ukraine, the Eurasian union, the Merida Plan … always with a critical view towards the international role of the United States.” Esteche claimed that “most of the soldiers who were trained in the United States to combat drug trafficking in Mexico today lead the cartels.”