BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - The man who lent an Argentine prosecutor the gun that killed him the day before he was to testify in Congress about allegations against the president emerged from hiding on Wednesday, saying the investigator feared for his family’s life.
The prosecutor’s employee, Diego Lagomarsino, is the only person to be charged with any offence so far in the case of Alberto Nisman, who was investigating the 1994 bombing of Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.
“I asked him why he wanted it,” a pale looking Lagomarsino told a news conference. “He told me ‘I am worried about the girls’.” “I said: ‘but Alberto you have security’. He told me ‘but I don’t even trust the bodyguards’”.
“At this point, he cracked up, and said: ‘Do you know what it is like for your children not to want to be with you just in case something happens to them?” Lagomarsino recounted.
Nisman’s murky death has convulsed Argentina and led to several conspiracy theories.
He was found dead in his flat, a gunshot wound to the head, on Jan. 18, the day before he had been due to face questions in Congress about his allegations against President Cristina Fernandez. Autopsy results point to the father-of-two killed himself, investigators say, though others including Fernandez say he was murdered.
The 1994 bombing that Nisman was investigating killed 85 people. The prosecutor earlier this month accused the president of seeking to whitewash the Iranian suspects in the case in order to normalize relations with Tehran and gain access to its oil.
Fernandez, who believes Nisman was killed as part of a plot to smear her name, raised questions on Monday about Lagomarsino’s role in his death. Lagomarsino was charged on Tuesday with illegally lending a weapon that is registered in his name.
But the lead investigator in the case said on Wednesday there was no evidence to date to suggest Lagomarsino was responsible of a greater crime than lending a gun.
Lagomarsino told reporters Nisman called him over to his flat the day before his death and asked for the gun. Nisman said he would keep the gun in his safe or in the glove box of his car when he was out with his children, Lagomarsino recounted.
“He told me ‘if it’s old, don’t worry, we will buy one this week’,” said Lagomarsino, a computer expert.
Editing by Richard Lough and Grant McCool