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Police Find Body Of Kidnapped Businessman; Four Police Charged

November 6, 1987

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ The body of a financier kidnapped two years ago was discovered in a crude grave outside Buenos Aires and authorities charged four federal police officers in the case, officials announced Friday.

Osvaldo Sivak had been missing since July 1985, when he was dragged from his car by armed men in the Buenos Aires suburb of Palermo.

Juan Angel Pirker, the federal police chief, said Friday four people were arrested in the case, including two federal police inspectors, Horacio Saucedo and Hector Ruben Galeano.

The pair led officers to Sivak’s grave 30 miles south of the capital late Thursday, said police sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Interior Secretary Juan Gauna said the two others held were also members of the federal police force. Police sources identified them as a member of the police fraud unit and a woman believed related to him.

All four were charged with kidnapping and murder, and were being held without bail, Gauna said.

″We consider them common criminals,″ he said.

He said other suspects remain at large, and police sources said they included at least one other police officer.

Medical authorities said an initial autopsy Friday showed Sivak, who was 46 at the time of the 1985 kidnapping, was shot in the head and died 15 days after he was seized.

Pirker said Sivak’s family paid a $1.1 million ransom on Aug. 11, 1985, the day before he was killed. It was dropped off at a soccer stadium in Avellaneda, a working-class suburb of Buenos Aires.

Sivak, president of the Buenos Aires Building Society, one of the country’s wealthiest financial institutions, was kidnapped on a previous occasion in 1979 and held for about 36 hours. His family paid a $1 million ransom for his release.

Sivak’s wife, Marta Oyhanarte de Sivak, claimed Friday that intelligence agents trying to extort money from the family played a role in both kidnappings. The Interior Ministry denied the charge.

Police and intelligence agencies were accused of involvement in kidnappings of industrialists carried out by right-wing groups during Argentina’s ″dirty war.″ No police or agents have been convicted of such charges.

The government says at least 9,000 suspected leftists disappeared during the 1976-83 ″dirty war″ conducted by military governments. Human rights groups say up to 30,000 disappeared and are presumed dead. Argentina returned to democracy in 1983 with the election of Raul Alfonsin as president.

Mrs. Sivak said her husband will be buried this week in suburban Tablada.

Former Interior Minister Antonio Troccoli said ″exemplary police work″ led to a break in the case.

The body was found Thursday beside a grove of trees in the village of Abasto near the city of La Plata. It was taken to Buenos Aires for the autopsy.

Update hourly