Argentina ex-minister ordered arrested in kidnap

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters ) – An Argentine judge yesterday ordered the arrest of the Dirty War dictatorship’s economy minister in an investigation into the kidnapping of a businessman and his son in 1976, a lawyer said.

Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz oversaw the economy from 1976 to 1981, the most brutal years of a military dictatorship in which as many as 30,000 people were killed in a crackdown on leftist dissent.

The centre-left government of President Cristina Fernandez brands Martinez de Hoz, 84, the civilian chief of the military junta and lambastes his policies for causing the recession, high inflation and indebtedness of the 1980s.

“We’re very pleased with the arrest warrant ordered by Judge Norberto Oyarbide,” said Rodolfo Yanzon, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs in a probe into the kidnapping of textiles businessman Federico Gutheim and his son Miguel.

The pair were allegedly kidnapped on government orders and while in captivity forced to renegotiate an export contract with a company in Hong Kong because the initial failure of the deal had cost the government a credit line.

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