July 16, 2015 / 6:54 PM / 4 years ago

Fangio exhumation will go ahead, says judge: report

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Formula One great Juan Manuel Fangio’s body will be exhumed as planned in a paternity case despite a suspension order made in the name of a rival claim, Argentine media reported on Thursday.

File photo from 1995 showing Argentina's five-time Formula One world champion Juan Manuel Fangio, next to a model of one of the cars that he drove during his long Formula One career. REUTERS/FILE

“The exhumation will go ahead,” judge Rodrigo Cataldo was quoted as saying on the minutobalcarce.com.ar website in Fangio’s birthplace Balcarce, in Buenos Aires province, where the five-times F1 world champion is buried.

Cataldo ordered last week that the body be exhumed on Aug. 7 and taken to the Atlantic resort city of Mar de Plata for DNA testing in a case brought in 2013 by Oscar ‘Cacho’ Espinosa who claims to be Fangio’s son.

However, another man called Ruben Vazquez has an older paternity claim dating from 2008 and judge Daniel Dipp of the provincial capital La Plata, who is handling his case, ordered the exhumation be suspended.

“Precautionary measures taken by one judge cannot prevent another measure requested by another judge from being carried out,” Cataldo said.

“Biological identity is a human right that cannot be blocked,” he added on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the F1 great’s death in 1995.

Fangio Foundation lawyers have asked Cataldo for the remains not to be moved to Mar del Plata and the DNA tests carried out at Balcarce’s municipal cemetery.

The judge said he would decide on their request before the weekend.

Fangio, who won his five titles in the 1950s and died aged 84 on July 17, 1995, never married and it was thought had no children.

Espinosa, now 77, and also a former racing driver, said in an interview with the Buenos Aires Sports daily Ole in 2000 that Fangio had given him racing tips.

His mother Andrea Berruet had a long relationship with Fangio until 1960 and Espinosa is reported to have provided, as proof of Fangio’s paternity, a bunch of letters the world champion wrote to Berruet asking about him.

Reporting by Luis Ampuero; Writing by Rex Gowar, editing by Tom Hayward

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