Secret recordings show Peru’s jailed ex-spy chief trying to change election results

Vladimiro MontesinosAUDIO RECORDINGS RELEASED LAST week appear to show Peru’s imprisoned former spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, trying to organize bribes for judges in an effort to alter the outcome of the recent presidential election. From 1990 to 2000, Montesinos headed Peru’s intelligence service, Servicio de Inteligencia Nacional (SIN). He worked in close cooperation with his political patron, Alberto Fujimori, who is currently serving a lengthy prison sentence for corruption and human-rights abuses. Like his boss, Montesinos is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for setting up a sophisticated network of illegal activities during his SIN tenure. The crimes he committed include drug trafficking, bribing, extortion, as well as embezzlement.

Despite his dramatic fall from power, Fujimori remains popular in Peru. Earlier this month, his daughter, Keiko Fujimori, a rightwing populist, fought a neck-and-neck election contest with leftist school teacher and trade unionist Pedro Castillo. Castillo was provisionally declared the winner of the second and final round of the general election, with 50.12 percent of the votes cast, having received 44,263 more votes than Fujimori. The United States, the European Union and the Organization of American States declared the election as free and fair. But Fujimori, who has vowed to pardon her father and release him from prison if she wins, claims that Castillo’s victory was the result of widespread fraud. Now the National Jury of Elections, set up by the National Office of Electoral Processes, is auditing the election results across the nation.

The plot thickened on Saturday, when a veteran lawmaker, Fernando Olivera, released over a dozen recordings of conversations between the jailed Montesinos and a retired military commander, Pedro Rejas, who is a political ally of Fujimori. In the recordings, Montesinos is heard instructing Rejas to arrange monetary bribes for judges who staff the National Jury of Elections. The purpose of the bribes, says Montesinos, is to secure a victory for Fujimori. He also warns Rejas that if Fujimori does not win the election, she will probably end up in prison for corruption, like her father.

The prison authority of the Peruvian Navy, which oversees the maximum security prison that houses Montesinos, has confirmed that the recordings released by Olivera are authentic, and says it has launched an investigation into the matter. There are also some who believe that Rejas’ involvement in Montesinos’ conspiracy may indicate willingness by the Peruvian Armed Forces to organize a coup, in case Castillo becomes Peru’s next president. Meanwhile, Fujimori has said she felt “indignation” when listening to the recordings of Montesinos’ attempts to secure her electoral victory. She described Montesinos as a “criminal” who “betrayed all Peruvians” as head of the SIN.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 30 June 2021 | Permalink