International Cooperation to Fight Organized Crime

Prosecutors and attorneys general from 20 countries — including the U.S., the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Mexico and most of Latin America —were in Lima this week, to discuss mechanisms for greater judiciary cooperation in transnational cases of organized crime, corruption and money laundering.

The host of the three-day convention was Peru’s Attorney General, Pablo Sanchez, who stressed the importance of international cooperation in the legal battles against organized crime.

Prosecutors and Attorneys General Convention in Lima — Far left, atty. general Alfons Alberca of Andorra; center left, British ambassador Anwar Choudhury; center right, Peru’s atty. general Pablo Sanchez, Supreme Court president Duberlí Rodriguez, U.S. Ambassador Brian Nichols, Devida drug enforcement president Carmen Masias, and District Attorney Alonso Peña, who heads the Odebrecht investigations. Photo: Andina

“Often (organized crime) is embedded within the State itself, in important spaces of the country, and we need to firmly remove them,” Sanchez said.

Among the examples of effective international cooperation, Sanchez mentioned Switzerland and Panama, more recently from the United States and Brazil, and now Andorra — including to trace and recover money held by President Alberto Fujimori’s intelligence chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, and more recently the ever-expanding investigation into the bribery scandal led by the Brazilian projects and construction company Odebrecht.

The most recent success in cooperation came via Andorra this week, and its attorney general Alfons Alberca, whose team included Justice Canólic Mingorance. Since 2015, the magistrate has been investigating money laundering in the Banca Privada d’Andorra, where Odebrecht funneled at least $15 million in bribes to different people.  On her arrival in Lima, Mingorance handed over files on bank accounts belonging to Peruvians who held different government positions during Alan Garcia’s administration.   The same bank also paid President Garcia a speaker’s fee of $100,000.

Andorra’s Attorney General Alfons Alberca and Justice Canólic Mingorance are welcomed in Lima. Photo: FiscaliaPeru

The meeting couldn’t have been better timed for Peru, to bolster its direct connections between district attorneys and prosecutors worldwide, as it faces some of the biggest corruption and money laundering cases in its history.

Amid a host of criminal investigations into not-so-minor players, the judiciary is also tackling former presidents and leading politicians.

  • Extradition papers are in process against ex President Alejandro Toledo, who is in the United States, on charges of $3 million in bribes from Odebrecht and of money laundering.
  • ex President Ollanta Humala and his wife Nadine Heredia are serving 18 months “preventive prison” while investigations continue on allegations of money laundering campaign donations, although no charges have yet been brought after three years.
  • ex President Alan Garcia is now under preliminary investigation, with his wife Pilar Nores and four of his cabinet ministers, on allegations of bribery and money laundering under the organized crime law.
  • Keiko Fujimori, twice presidential candidate and leader of the Fujimorista party Fuerza Popular, the opposition majority in Congress, is now under investigation on possibly illicit campaign donations through allegedly non-existent cocktail parties, and with her husband Mark Villanella, under the organized crime law, for receiving campaign donations from the U.S.

 

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