Peruvian President Pedro Castillo faces new corruption charge | International

Peru’s Attorney General Patricia Benavides filed a constitutional complaint on Tuesday against President Pedro Castilloaccusing him of leading a criminal organization after finding evidence of influence peddling and acts of collusion.

The complaint, the first of its kind against a sitting president, has been filed with Congress, which must now consider the future of the leader on the left. Castillo is already handling six investigations on issues ranging from corruption to plagiarism. Not since the 2021 elections, which further fragmented a country already dividedPeru has experienced such a stormy political atmosphere.

“I am filing a constitutional complaint against José Pedro Castillo Terrones, in his capacity as President of the Republic, as the alleged perpetrator of crimes against public peace in the form of a criminal organization aggravated by his position as leader,” he said. wrote Benavides in a document posted on Twitter.

The prosecution on Tuesday ordered the arrest of five former advisers to Castillo and the search of the offices and homes of six members of Congress also involved in the investigation. The searches extended to the home of the president’s sister, Gloria Castillo, who was with her mother, in San Juan de Lurigancho, a neighborhood east of Lima. It was called an “abusive act” by the president himself a few hours later.

Here I am and if my blood must flow in the streets for the good of the people, so be it. If I have to give my life, I will

President Pedro Castillo

The complaint also concerns two former Castillo ministers: Juan Silva Villegas (Transport and Communications), currently on the run, and Geiner Alvarado López (Housing, Construction and Sanitation).

In a Twitter post, Benavides was adamant in his accusation. “We have found serious indications of the alleged existence of a criminal organization entrenched in the palace of government with the aim of monopolizing, controlling and directing the bidding processes in order to obtain illicit gains”, reads -on in the document.

This type of constitutional complaint, filed in parliament, is brought against senior officials who also enjoy immunity from prosecution. This decision leaves the ball in the court of the legislature, which is controlled by parties opposed to Castillo. “From this moment on, it is the exclusive responsibility of the Congress of the Republic to decide on the treatment of the constitutional complaint within the framework of the United Nations Convention against Corruption,” Benavides’ office said.

It would take at least 66 out of 130 votes to suspend Castillo, whose alliance holds a third of the seats in parliament.

Castillo categorically denied the charges during a press conference, during which he said that “the execution of a form of coup d’etat has begun in Peru”. In a dramatic statement, he suggested he was ready to die for his compatriots. “I am here and if my blood must flow in the streets for the good of the people, so be it. If I have to give my life, I will.

In any event, the charges are extremely serious and are aimed at an executive who has suffered from instability, resignations and dismissals since Castillo, a schoolteacher by trade, took office at the end of July 2021. The attorney general spoke of ” permanent intimidation” and “harassment” against the prosecutors and the national police, which “seriously endangers the continuity of the investigations and the discovery of the truth that all the Peruvian people expect to know”.

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