Ex-Argentine President Menem found not guilty in arms case

BUENOS AIRES (AP) — Argentina’s highest criminal court acquitted former President Carlos Menem on Thursday of smuggling arms shipments to Ecuador and Croatia in the 1990s when both countries were involved in armed conflicts, overturning a 2013 conviction.

Menem, now 88, had been sentenced by a lower court to seven years in prison for “aggravated smuggling” as the co-author of shipments of more than 6,000 tons of weapons, which he authorized to go to Venezuela and Panama but ended up in Ecuador and Croatia.

At the time, Argentina was barred from supplying Ecuador with weapons since it had a peacekeeping role after Ecuador and Peru fought a brief war in 1995. Croatia was under a U.N. arms embargo.

Menem has denied the charges, saying he thought the arms were headed to Panama and Venezuela.

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