WASHINGTON (Mar. 22)
Emesto Liebes, Israel’s Honorary Consul in the Central American Republic of El Salvador, was found dead today with two bullet wounds, in an abandoned car in the sparsely populated Monserat section of the capital city, San Salvador. Liebes, 22, a prominent businessman, was kidnapped last Jan. 17 and had not been heard from since then.
The Armed Forces of National Resistance (FARN), an extreme left-wing terrorist organization, claimed credit for the kidnapping at the time. Yesterday, an anonymous telephone caller told the media in San Salvador that unless FARN’s demands were met, Liebes, two British bankers and a Japanese businessman would be killed
Five hours after that ultimatum, another telephone call directed police and the media to the spot where Liebes body was found with a bullet wound under his chin, another in his chest and a blue sweater pulled over his head. The where abouts of the two Britons and the Japanese who were kidnapped before Liebes was seized, are not known.
Information pieced together from queries at the State Department the Israeli Embassy and the Embassy of El Salvador here, indicated that FARN has been responsible for several kidnappings in the past two years but the only other victim killed was a Japanese businessman who was found dead last May 17.
Liebes was a leading coffee exporter and head of a chain of hardware stores known as Goldtree, Liebes Co. He had served as Honorary Consul of Israel since that country’s founding in 1948 at though Israel now has an Embassy in San Salvador.
The first indications are that Liebes was not kidnapped because of his affiliation with Israel but because he was a man of considerable wealth FARN had demanded a large ransom for his release — $10 million, according to one unconfirmed report. Its other demands included publication of anti-government manifestos and the release of political prisoners. Reports reaching here today said FARN considered that the families and employes of the victims had not complied with their demands.