RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Peruvian prosecutor José Domingo Pérez opened a new investigation against presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori after the publication of audios in which imprisoned former presidential advisor Vladimiro Montesinos suggests bribing electoral judges so that she wins the presidential run-off election on June 6.
Pérez, part of the team investigating the Lava Jato case in Peru, initiated the investigations against Fujimori, her party, Fuerza Popular, and “whoever is responsible” for the alleged crime of money laundering, for a maximum period of 36 months.
The Public Prosecutor affirmed that there is “information from audios containing telephone communications” between Montesinos, former military officer Pedro Rejas and lawyer Guillermo Sendón regarding the “financing of the Fuerza Popular presidential campaign”.
KEIKO CRITICIZES THE PROSECUTOR
The beginning of the preliminary proceedings on this case was revealed this Monday (5) by Fujimori, who affirmed in her social networks that Pérez “launches a new show to cover up the case of ‘the Dynamics of the Center'”, another investigation that the Public Prosecutor’s Office is carrying out, this time on alleged irregular financing of the campaign of her electoral rival, the leftist Pedro Castillo.
The right-wing candidate maintained that Perez’s “eagerness to appear” has “no limits” and, for that reason, she has summoned “Vladimiro Montesinos as a protagonist to assure diffusion and coverage” of the new proceedings.
Read also: Check out our coverage on Peru
“The prosecutor who has already requested my imprisonment 4 times returns to the attack by opening an investigation for the audios put together by Montesinos and his friends accusing me of asset laundering,” she maintained in allusion to the other investigation that the Public Prosecutor’s Office is following her for the alleged irregular financing of her electoral campaigns in 2011 and 2016.
Fujimori has already been remanded in custody on two occasions for this investigation, and is currently awaiting a judicial decision on the opening of a trial.
Regarding Pérez, the candidate assured “that enough was enough with his obsession and eagerness to appear” and announced that she would ask the Public Prosecutor’s Office “and other instances for his exclusion from this new case to prevent his evident bias from distorting this investigation” with which, she affirms, she will collaborate as she has done in “more than 20 years”.
THE PROSECUTOR’S INVESTIGATION
The newspaper La República reported that the prosecutor based his investigation on the transcription of a recording of telephone conversations with Montesinos, who is serving 25 years in prison in the Callao Naval Base.
In the audio, it is stated that Fujimori and Popular Force “have received a lot of money, but they have thrown it away (stolen),” after which Montesinos says that money should be requested from businessmen and right-wing politicians to finance the appeals for annulment presented by Fujimori against the results of the second round of elections that she disputed with Castillo.
Fujimori presented these challenges in an attempt to annul some 200,000 votes in areas where her rival received a landslide vote in the runoff and after alleging “systematic fraud,” of which she has so far not presented credible evidence.
The official tally of the elections indicated that Castillo won by a little more than 40,000 votes over Fujimori. However, the review of the challenges presented by the candidate still prevents the electoral jury from proclaiming a winner.
The Public Prosecutor also considered that “the alleged criminal activity” of which he accuses the Popular Force party in the trial for the previous campaigns “has not ceased” and said that this “would qualify as the crime of asset laundering, in the modalities of conversion and transfer, and concealment and possession.”
On July 1, former military officer Pedro Rejas admitted having participated in a plan devised by Montesinos, the former “strong man” of Alberto Fujimori’s government, to obtain, through bribes, that the candidate be recognized as the winner of the Peruvian elections.
He maintained that Montesinos’ “primary interest” “was to support Keiko’s candidacy” and indicated that “he was supposed” to “communicate to the Fujimori’s the request for money”, but instead he preferred “to tell everything because he did not want to go to jail for corruption.”
He added that during the recent campaign, he also learned that Montesinos was directing, from prison, a group of people who supported Fujimori’s candidacy with messages spread through social networks and telephone with the support of an intelligence expert.
However, after the results of the second round, Montesinos called Rejas to tell him that three of the four magistrates of the National Jury of Elections (JNE), the highest electoral body in charge of proclaiming the results, should be bribed with one million dollars each.