Argentina rights group ex-official suspected of embezzlement

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — A former top official with Argentina’s Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo human rights group was detained May 15 on suspicion of embezzling millions of dollars from the prominent organization and money laundering.

Sergio Schoklender, 53, served as the financial manager of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo but resigned from his post about a year ago.

Before being quizzed by an investigating judge in Buenos Aires, Schoklender told reporters that he was “going to answer all the questions they put to me” – but by the end of the proceedings, he was taken into custody.

The country’s Center for Judicial Information also said that Schoklender’s brother Pablo was detained on suspicion of involvement in what investigators believe was a criminal conspiracy.

Last year, members of parliament launched an investigation into Sergio Schoklender’s alleged embezzlement and money laundering of some 700 million pesos (about US$160 million) in Argentine government funds.

He allegedly diverted public funds managed by the foundation to purchase property, a Ferrari, two small airplanes and a boat, among other luxury items.

[AFP, 16/05/2012; Lacapital.com.ar (Argentina), 16/05/2012]

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