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Former Argentina president on trial for tax fraud

Former Argentinian president Carlos Menem [official website, in Spanish] appeared in court on Monday for allegedly falsifying his 2000 tax returns. Prosecutors argue that Menem hid bank accounts [BBC report] worth millions of dollars, as well as various aircraft, properties and cars from the tax authorities. Despite having been convicted in June of selling illegal weapons [JURIST report] to Croatia and Ecuador during his presidency, Menem remains free because, as a current senator, he has received immunity afforded to public servants in the country. Regarding the pending charges, Menem has stated that he meant no harm by falsifying his tax returns. If convicted, he could face up to six years in prison.

In addition to his pending charges and June conviction, Menem was also put on trial in 2011 for crimes committed during his presidency. Menem was indicted [JURIST report] by the Federal Court in 2009 on corruption charges for overpaying members of his administration during 1988 and 1989. In October 2008 an Argentine court charged [JURIST report] Menem with covering up evidence related to the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Menem, who was born in Argentina to Syrian immigrants, was accused of hiding the alleged involvement of Syrian-Argentine businessman Alberto Kanoore Edul. Numerous members of his administration have also faced a variety of charges over the past decade, but few have been convicted.

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