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Argentina: Individuals present at the time of Alfredo Yabrán's suicide in May 1998; reports of Yabrán faking his own death in order to evade capture by the authorities (1998 - May 2001)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 30 May 2001
Citation / Document Symbol ARG37222.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Argentina: Individuals present at the time of Alfredo Yabrán's suicide in May 1998; reports of Yabrán faking his own death in order to evade capture by the authorities (1998 - May 2001), 30 May 2001, ARG37222.E, available at: [accessed 24 January 2019]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

According to media reports, Alfredo Yabrán died at approximately 13:10 on 20 May 1998 as a result of a self-inflicted shot gun wound while in the bathroom of his house on the San Ignacio ranch, located roughly 30 kilometres from Gualeguaychú, Entre Ríos (La Nación 21 May 1998a; ibid. 21 May 1998b; LARR 26 May 1998). Leonardo Aristimuño and Andrea Fabiana Viordo, both domestic staff (caseros) employed by Yabrán, were in the house at the time of his death (La Nación 22 June 1998; ibid. 28 May 1998).

Also reportedly present at the house were police officers who were conducting a search for Yabrán, whose arrest had been ordered on 18 May 1998 (LARR 26 May 1998). Among the officers present was Commissioner Alberto Cerves, who was one of the commanders of the operation (Página/12 25 May 1998). While the number or identity of other officers involved in the search could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate, they reportedly arrived at the ranch in at least 18 vehicles (Página/12 22 May 1998; ibid. 28 May 1998a).

Furthermore, a number of reports claimed that a vehicle carrying two unidentified individuals was seen leaving the ranch as the police arrived (ibid.; La Nación 21 May 1998a). However, the identity of these individuals could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Also reportedly present in the vicinity of the San Ignacio ranch at the time of Yabrán's death was Manuel Lazo, a journalist, who broadcast a "live and minute by minute" (en vivo y minuto a minuto) account of the police operation for the Gualeguaychú radio station LT41 (Página/12 28 May 1998a). Since 1998, Lazo has written articles for Análisis, a Paraná newspaper (Análisis 18 Jan. 2001; ibid. 1 Feb. 2001; ibid. 8 Feb. 2001), and was the host of Piso XXI, a current affairs program broadcast on a Paraná television station (ibid. 31 Aug. 2000).

Following Yabrán's reported death in May 1998, a number of articles were published in which doubts were expressed regarding official accounts of the suicide (La Nación 22 May 1998; Página/12 28 May 1998b), with the Buenos Aires newspaper Página/12 for example speculating that Yabrán may have faked his own death (ibid. 21 May 1998). As recently as April 2001, La Nación reported that "many Argentineans still believe that Yabrán is alive" (muchos argentinos aún hoy creen que Alfredo Yabrán está vivo) (8 Apr. 2001). However, no reports of sightings could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

While Yabrán's face was reportedly unrecognizable as a result of the gun shot wound (ibid. 22 May 1998; ibid. 21 May 1998b), DNA testing completed in June 1998 indicated that the body was that of Yabrán (ibid. 22 June 1998). Furthermore, a number of individuals, including Yabrán family members, Gualeguaychú Judge Graciela Pross Laporte, Minister of the Interior Carlos Corach and Oscar Chiapetti, one of the physicians who carried out an autopsy on the body, all stated that the body recovered from the San Ignacio ranch was that of Yabrán (ibid. 25 May 1998; ibid. 26 May 1998).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Análisis [Paraná]. 8 February 2001. No. 452. Manuel Lazo. "El conflicto en torno al frigorífico de Gualeguaychú." [Accessed 30 May 2001]

_____. 1 February 2001. No. 451. Manuel Lazo. "La línea blanca." [Accessed 30 May 2001]

_____. 18 January 2001. No. 449. Manuel Lazo. "Historias de cárcel y muerte." [Accessed 30 May 2001]

_____. 31 August 2000. No. 429. "Piso XXI." [Accessed 30 May 2001]

Latin American Regional Reports (LARR): Southern Cone Report [London]. 26 May 1998. "Yabrán Suicide Causes Uproar."

La Nación [Buenos Aires]. 8 April 2001. "Sin dudas sobre el suicidio de su patrón." [Accessed 28 May 2001]

_____. 22 June 1998. "Los últimos que vieron con vida a Yabrán guardan sus secretos." [Accessed 28 May 2001]

_____. 28 May 1998. "Yabrán llegó a San Ignacio 14 días antes." [Accessed 28 May 2001]

_____. 26 May 1998. "La jueza y el Gobierno no dudan del suicidio." [Accessed 28 May 2001]

_____. 25 May 1998. "El forense dice que no hay razones para dudar." [Accessed 28 May 2001]

_____. 22 May 1998. "Dudas después de la autopsia." [Accessed 28 May 2001]

_____. 21 May 1998a. "Murió como vivió, rodeado de un gran misterio." [Accessed 28 May 2001]

_____. 21 May 1998b. "Apareció muerto Alfredo Yabrán; estupor e incredulidad generales." [Accessed 28 May 2001]

Página/12 [Buenos Aires]. 28 May 1998a. Andrés Klipphan. "Los puntos oscuros de una causa casi cerrada." [Accessed 29 May 2001]

_____. 28 May 1998b. Miguel Bonasso. "Cartas que agravan las dudas." [Accessed 29 May 2001]

_____. 25 May 1998. "La llamada de Menem." [Accessed 29 May 2001]

_____. 22 May 1998.Andrés Klipphan and Cristian Alarcón. "Los secretos de Yabrán." [Accessed 29 May 2001]

_____. 21 May 1998.Raúl Kollmann. "La única certeza es la muerte." [Accessed 30 May 2001]

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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