Peru: The President, target of a constitutional corruption complaint

Peru: The President, target of a constitutional corruption complaint

Peru’s Attorney General filed a constitutional complaint on Tuesday accusing President Pedro Castillo of crimes of criminal association and corruption, an act that could lead to the suspension of the leftist leader.

“I file a constitutional complaint against José Pedro Castillo Terrones, in his capacity as President of the Republic, as an alleged perpetrator of crimes against the public order in the form of a criminal organization aggravated by his leadership qualities,” wrote Patricia Benavides. Attorney General, in a document posted on Twitter.

This appeal, submitted to Parliament, also targets two former ministers of Mr. Castillo, who has been in office for fifteen months: Juan Silva, in charge of transport and communications, and Geiner Alvarado, in charge of housing. They are suspected of influence and are considered part of the alleged criminal organization led by the President.

This is the first time a sitting president has been hit by such an appeal.

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo arrives at the prosecutor’s office in Lima, Peru, September 5, 2022 (AFP – Ernesto BENAVIDES)

“There is serious evidence of the alleged existence of a criminal organization in the Presidential Palace with the aim of capturing, controlling and directing procurement processes to generate illicit profits,” Ms Benavides noted, stressing that it is the “exclusive and complete Parliament’s responsibility to rule on the constitutional complaint under the United Nations Convention against Corruption”.

Parliament must examine this objection in the coming days. It would take at least 66 out of 130 votes to suspend Mr Castillo, whose left-wing parliamentary coalition is struggling and gathering only a third of MPs.

“We will stand our ground despite this political persecution,” the president said at a press conference with foreign media. “We currently have a political prosecutor’s office that does this instead of judging the real criminal networks.”

– Six surveys –

The President enjoys immunity until the end of his term in July 2026, but is open to investigation. He is currently quoted in six polls.

The head of state is suspected of leading a corruption network involving money laundering and awarding public contracts for the benefit of relatives and politicians.

Prosecutors and police search the home of Peruvian President Pedro Castillo's sister Gloria Castillo on October 11, 2022 in Lima, Peru (Peruvian Prosecutor's Office/AFP - -)
Prosecutors and police search the home of Peruvian President Pedro Castillo’s sister Gloria Castillo on October 11, 2022 in Lima, Peru (Peruvian Prosecutor’s Office/AFP – -)

The filing of the appeal came on the same day as investigators visited a sister of the President in search of Mr. Castillo’s nephew, Gian Marco Castillo Gomez, who is also suspected of belonging to the criminal organization. The homes of 12 other suspects, including six opposition politicians accused of collusion with the government, were also affected.

“The prosecutor’s office entered my sister’s house. My mother was there. This abusive act has affected her health. I hold the prosecutor responsible for my elderly mother’s health,” Mr. Castillo tweeted.

Five former government advisers were detained for ten days after this operation.

The President’s sister-in-law, Yenifer Paredes, 26, was sentenced to thirty months in custody at the end of August for her alleged membership of the network.

His wife Lilia Paredes and two of her brothers, Walter and David Paredes, are also under investigation and trials to prevent them from leaving the country for three years.

Mr. Castillo denies all allegations against him and his family and claims to be the victim of a campaign to oust him from power. The right-wing majority in parliament is calling for his resignation and has twice tried to sack him.


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