Arrested ETA suspect 'had million-euro war chest'

13th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

MADRID, Oct 12 (AFP) - The alleged political leader of ETA, detained in southwestern France earlier this month, financed the armed Basque separatist group's activities to the tune of EUR 100,000 (USD 120,000) a month, Spanish anti-terrorist sources said Tuesday.

MADRID, Oct 12 (AFP) - The alleged political leader of ETA, detained in southwestern France earlier this month, financed the armed Basque separatist group's activities to the tune of EUR 100,000 (USD 120,000) a month, Spanish anti-terrorist sources said Tuesday.  

They said Mikel Albizu Iriarte, nicknamed "Antza", supplied the funds to cover ETA's logistical expenditure such as hiring safehouse accommodation and transport, but ostensibly not the purchase of weapons or explosives.  

The sources, quoted by the Vasco Press news agency, said documents seen by police since the arrest of "Antza" and a group of other ETA suspects including his girlfriend Soledad Iparragirre Genetxea, nicknamed "Amboto", suggest he had access to an annual budget of some EUR 1.2 million.  

The documents appeared to suggest "Antza" played a key role in the cash distribution over a period of months, the sources added.  

Spanish media reported on Sunday that "Antza" has denied being involved in the purchase of two missiles found in the hands of the Basque separatist organization following the French police raid on October 3 which netted him and 16 other ETA suspects on October 3.  

Top Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon is seeking Antza's extradition.  

According to the Spanish interior ministry, the raids, which officials say dealt a major blow to ETA's operational capability, turned up a large quantity of arms including two Russian-made ground-to-air missiles.  

ETA is campaigning for an independent homeland in parts of northern Spain and southwestern France since its creation. It has been blamed for the deaths of more than 800 people since it began its armed campaign in 1968.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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