Peruvian president under investigation in corruption case | WETM

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LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peruvian President Pedro Castillo appeared before national prosecutors on Friday to answer questions as part of an investigation against him in which he is accused of being the leader of an alleged criminal conspiracy that received bribes for public works contracts.

Earlier, Castillo said on Twitter that he was seeking to “clear up accusations and speculation…in an act of transparency with the people and collaboration with the judiciary.”

The president walked the streets of historic downtown Lima, including a main road where traffic was blocked. He was surrounded by security guards and riot police, some on horseback and some on motorbikes.

Castillo shook hands with several in attendance, but declined to answer questions from reporters.

Dozens of people shouted “criminal” at the president through megaphones, while others called for his incarceration.

Prosecutors are also investigating the president’s former transportation minister, Juan Silva, and six lawmakers. The investigation focuses on an accusation that a criminal group led by Castillo profited from works improperly attributed to certain business leaders.

It is the first time in Peru’s history that the district attorney’s office is investigating a sitting president.

Six former Peruvian presidents who ruled the country between 1985 and 2020 have been convicted, charged or investigated for corruption or money laundering. One of them, Alan García, who was president from 1985 to 1990 and then from 2006 to 2011, killed himself before being detained as part of an investigation into bribery by the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.

In his 10 months in office, Castillo has so far survived two impeachment attempts in Congress in what is a continuation of a political crisis that began in Peru in 2016 and has led to instability as well as to five presidents and three dissolutions of Congress. .

Polls show that Peruvians are very unhappy with Castillo and Congress.

A May poll from the Institute for Peruvian Studies shows Castillo suffering from a 70% disapproval rating, while Congress stands at 87%. More than half of the population – 67% – think the best thing for the country would be for the president and Congress to resign so that new elections can be held.

Castillo was sworn in on July 28, 2021, and his administration is expected to last five years, until July 28, 2026.

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