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Argentine Military Intel Chief Resigns Over Ship Seizure

Oct. 19, 2012 - 05:34AM   |  
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BUENOS AIRES — The head of Argentina’s military intelligence resigned Oct. 18 in the wake of a warship seizure by Ghana over a bond dispute, a source said.

The boat, which went to the West African nation for a training mission, was seized by port officials in Tema this month under a court order secured by a Cayman Islands investment group that claims Buenos Aires owes it more than $370 million (283 million euros).

“Puente Olivera, director of strategic military intelligence has handed in her resignation: she considered it appropriate to do so,” a government source who requested anonymity said, without providing more details.

The resignation follows that of the commander of the Argentine Navy, Carlos Alberto Paz, on Oct. 15. The government has also punished two high-ranking naval officers over the decision to have the ARA Libertad and its 200-strong crew stop over at the port.

In an effort to defuse the crisis, a delegation consisting of Deputy Defense Secretary Alfredo Forti and Deputy Foreign Minister Eduardo Zuain was sent to Ghana.

Argentina has denounced the seizure of Libertad as a violation of the Vienna Convention, arguing that the military vessel is protected by diplomatic immunity.

Bondholders NML Capital, a so-called “vulture fund,” bought Argentine bonds at a discount when the country’s economy was in freefall in 2000. Buenos Aires later defaulted.

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