Peru is currently working to recover more than $40 million from bank accounts that former spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos and his network opened abroad in the 1990s.
According to Alonso Peña, head of the International Judicial Cooperation and Extraditions Unit in the Attorney General’s Office, the money is in Luxembourg ($15 mn), Switzerland ($26 mn), Mexico (1.6 mn) and Panama ($92,000).
Peña’s unit has succeeded in blocking the accounts —after a lengthy process of following and proving different trails—and is now going through the paces to get the banks to release the money to the Peruvian government.
Montesinos, President Alberto Fujimori’s closest adviser and chief of intelligence 1990-2001, amassed the money partly from bribes or “commissions” through the purchase of weapons and equipment for the Peruvian armed forces, using a network of people to set up front companies to channel the money.
One of the examples given by Peña to daily El Comercio was the cut received by Montesinos in negotiating the purchase from Russia of three MIG-29 fighter aircraft in 1998. Peru paid more than $117 mn for the planes.
Peña said that his unit is hoping to complete the recovery of the money held in Luxembourg by February 2016.
In 2002, the government recovered $77.5 million from Switzerland traced to Montesinos and investigations were taken up again around 2006 to follow up new leads.
Judicial investigations continue throughout the world to trace money not only held by Montesinos but by former President Alberto Fujimori during the two Fujimori administrations (1990-2000). According to the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, the Peruvian state lost $6 billion during Fujimori’s presidency through malfeasance.