ARGENTINA RUBéN BENITEZ

Bodyguard: ‘Nisman wanted a gun’

Bodyguard Rubén Benitez, whose claims coincide with those of key suspect Diego Lagomarsino, painted Nisman as a nervy and short-tempered boss.

Late AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was found dead of a gunshot wound to his head inside the bathroom of his apartment, on January 18, 2015.
Late AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was found dead of a gunshot wound to his head inside the bathroom of his apartment, on January 18, 2015. Foto:AP/NATACHA PISARENKO

A long-serving bodyguard to Alberto Nisman told the courts on Tuesday that Nisman had asked him to buy a gun so he could take charge of the protection of his teenage daughters.

Rubén Benitez served Nisman for 15 years. His testimony to the court investigation Nisman's mysterious murder coincides with a similar claim made by Nisman’s former IT specialist Diego Lagomarsino, whose 22-calibre handgun was found at the scene of the crime and was later confirmed as the source of the bullet lodged in Nisman’s head.

Nisman had refused to buy a gun because of the professional problems it could cause him, Benitez told the courts.

His and others’ testimonies have painted the late prosecutor as short-tempered and nervous.

“He (Nisman) would get angry if we bothered him”, Benitez said.

Another bodyguard Néstor Durán testified yesterday alongside Benitez, telling the courts he had never entered Nisman’s apartment and only responded to orders from Benitez.

Durán confirmed having been in the apartment’s elevator with Lagomarsino the day prior to the supposed time of death of Nisman.

Nisman’s bodyguards are under investigation for having abandoned their posts,  which prosecutors claim could have cleared a path for the alleged killer or killers to access Nisman’s apartment.

A 'geopolitical' death

Nisman’s death occurred four days after he formally accused then-President Cristina Fernandez of covering up Iranian officials’ role in Argentina’s worst terrorist attack. He claimed Fernandez and other senior officials had brokered the deal in exchange for favorable deals on oil and other goods from Iran.

Fernández has always insisted she had nothing to with a cover-up or with Nisman’s death, while Iran has repeatedly denied involvement in the bombing.

- TIMES/AP