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Sixth investigation into Peru’s President opened after relative was arrested

#Sixth #investigation #Perus #President #opened #relative #arrested

Peru’s prosecutors have launched a sixth criminal investigation into President Pedro Castillo over alleged corruption related to government tenders, officials said Thursday.

The announcement came after police this week searched the Lima presidential palace where Castillo resides, as well as his private home in the country’s rural north, in search of his sister-in-law, who gave herself up in a related corruption investigation on Wednesday.

Castillo is already the subject of five other criminal investigations into bribery and alleged plagiarism of his university work, and has survived two impeachment trials since taking office in July last year.

Peru’s prosecutors have decided to launch an investigation into Castillo and his former housing minister, Geiner Alvarado, “for an alleged crime…in the form of a criminal organization,” prosecutors said on Twitter.

The investigation, she added, is targeting contracts awarded in the provinces of Chota-Cajamarca, where Castillo is originally from, and Cajatambo-Lima, north of the capital.

Alvarado was Castillo’s housing minister at the time, but has since switched to transportation.

The president also took to Twitter, denouncing a “media show” he said was designed to portray his family as corrupt.

“More than a year has passed and there is no evidence, only conjecture. Proceed with your media agenda, we will continue to work for Peru,” he said.

– Covid-positive –

The arrests this week of Castillo’s sister-in-law Yenifer Paredes, business brothers Hugo and Anggi Espino and Mayor Jose Nenil Medina of Anguia in Cajamarca are linked to the same investigation.

The four are accused of involvement in a corruption and money laundering network that prosecutors claim was run by the Peruvian president.

Paredes appeared before a judge on Thursday, where her lawyers called for her 10-day pre-trial detention to be replaced with a “less onerous” measure as she had tested positive for Covid-19.

The request was denied, and the judge ruled that she received adequate care in isolation from others.

Castillo, who is serving a five-year term until 2026, cannot be tried during his tenure.

Last week, a team of investigators visited Anguia and Cajatambo to gather information on public works contracts awarded to the Espino brothers, who are said to have had ties to Castillo’s sister-in-law.

– allegations denied –

Castillo, a 52-year-old rural school teacher and trade unionist, unexpectedly seized power from Peru’s traditional political elite in last year’s elections.

He has come under constant fire from right-wing political rivals seeking his impeachment, so far without success.

The president also faces investigations into allegations including tampering with a fuel purchase agreement and obstructing justice in the sacking of Interior Secretary Mariano Gonzalez, who authorized the arrests of Castillo allies.

There are also allegations of interference in military promotions.

He denies all allegations.

Opinion polls show that three-quarters of Peruvians disapprove of Castillo’s leadership of the country, which has seen three prime ministers and seven interior ministers come and go in just over a year.

Paredes, 26, lives with Castillo and his wife, whom she reportedly considers “parents.”

She is the fourth person in the President’s entourage to be investigated for alleged corruption.

The others include a nephew who served as an adviser, a former transport minister – both fugitives from justice – and Castillo’s former presidential secretary.

Peru is no stranger to instability: in 2020 it had three different presidents in five days, and since 2016 it has had five presidents and three legislatures.

But six open investigations into an incumbent president are unprecedented.

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