May 4, 2017 / 12:13 AM / 3 months ago

Argentine prosecutor threatened and found tied up in his office

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - An Argentine prosecutor in charge of a probe into police corruption in Buenos Aires province was found tied up by an attacker who apparently entered and escaped through a window, local officials said on Wednesday.

Fernando Cartasegna was rushed to the hospital after he was found lying face down on the floor, with his arms and legs bound, in his office in the provincial capital La Plata, District Attorney Julio Conte Grande told reporters.

"He was grabbed from behind and could not identify the attacker," Conte Grande said, adding that Cartasegna was not seriously hurt in the incident.

The office had been locked from inside, suggesting the assailant had used a window in the late afternoon attack.

On Tuesday Cartasegna said he was hit from behind with a police club in La Plata over the weekend. The attacker told him to drop the police corruption investigation or wind up like Alberto Nisman, a federal prosecutor found shot dead in his Buenos Aires apartment in 2015 while developing a case against then-President Cristina Fernandez, he added.

Pamphlets saying "Meet the New Nisman" had recently been left on Cartasegna's home patio, he told local newspaper La Nacion in an interview published Wednesday morning. The word "Nisman" was spelled out with sugar in Cartasegna's office on Wednesday, Conte Grande said.

"They wanted to intimidate me into dropping the case," Cartasegna said in the interview.

The Nisman case was initially dubbed a suicide, but polls show most Argentines believe his death was a homicide.

The 51-year-old investigator was found shot through the head in January 2015, a pistol by his side, hours before he was to appear in Congress to outline his accusation that Fernandez had tried to cover up Iran's alleged role in the 1994 truck bombing of a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires.

Fernandez has dismissed the accusation and Iran has denied any involvement in the attack, which killed 85 people.

Cartasegna will take some time off work, and "we are going to reinforce his security," Conte Grande said.

Reporting by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Richard Chang

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