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Argentine judge orders exhumation of body of former president's son

Photo provided by DYN dated on 1995, showing Carlos Menem Jr., former Argentine President Carlos Menem's son.

Photo provided by DYN dated on 1995, showing Carlos Menem Jr., former Argentine President Carlos Menem's son.  (EFE)

A judge agreed Wednesday to a new exhumation of the body of former Argentina President Carlos Menem's son in an effort to determine whether his death in a helicopter crash was an accident or murder.

The lawyer of Menem Jr.’s mother, Juan Gabriel Lavaké, said
the family is not even certain the remains they buried over two decades ago are his.

Lavaké told Clarin newspaper that there is a strong discrepancy between body members exhumed in 1996 and X-rays of Menem performed not long before the crash a year before.

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"At first the judge wanted to examine only the bone remains of the necropsy performed in the morgue of Buenos Aires. But not all of the remains were there: the bulk went to the casket at the Islamic cemetery of La Tablada,” he said.

“These remains we are positive belong to Carlitos, the issue
is other parts: The skull, the sternum and the right leg.”

Menem Jr. died in a crash over Buenos Aires on March 15, 1995, when he was piloting a Bell 206 Jet Ranger helicopter. Although it was officially classified as an accident, his mother Zulema Yoma held from the beginning that it was an attack.

Menem Jr. was 26 years old.

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The controversy was revived eight months after the crash, when Virginia Vallejo, a lover of the late Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, said in an interview that Menem’s death was related to his role in laundering drug money.

In May 2016 former President Carlos Menem said in testimony before a judge that late former Foreign Minister Guido Di Tella had told him the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah killed his son.

And Yoma, the motger, saidonce that former President Cristina Fernandez de Kircher told her on one occasion that her son had been the target of an attack.

The inquiry is to begin in April, according to Labake, who said the whole process should be concluded by July.

EFE contributed to this report.