Peru's president accused of bribery in Rolexgate scandal

Peru’s president accused of bribery in Rolexgate scandal

/ 08:30 AM May 30, 2024

Peru's president accused of bribery in Rolexgate scandal

Peru’s President Dina Boluarte shows a watch during a press conference at the government palace after her statement to the prosecutor’s office, in Lima on April 05, 2024. Peruvian Attorney General Juan Carlos Villena, charged President Dina Boluarte on May 27 before Congress, for the alleged crime of bribery in the context of the luxury watch scandal known as Rolexgate. Agence France-Presse

LIMA — Peru’s attorney general on Monday accused President Dina Boluarte of accepting bribes in the form of Rolex watches, in the latest twist of a corruption scandal shaking her unpopular government.

Attorney General Juan Carlos Villena said that her receiving the luxury items from a governor amounted to accepting bribes.


Villena “presented a constitutional complaint against Dina Boluarte as the suspected author of passive corruption,” his office said on X, formerly Twitter.


READ: After police raid home of Peru’s president, six ministers replaced

The scandal erupted in March with the discovery of a trove of undeclared luxury Rolex watches and jewelry in the president’s possession.

Boluarte told prosecutors last month the Rolex watches had been loaned by a friend, the regional governor of Ayacucho, Wilfredo Oscorima. She is being investigated on suspicion of “passive corruption” for receiving improper benefits from public officials.

The attorney general’s accusation, presented to Congress, does not amount to an indictment because the president has immunity while in power.

Prime Minister Gustavo Adrianzen criticized the accusation as “persecution” of Boluarte.

READ: President of Peru slams raids in luxury watch investigation


“This is nothing more than an example of the systematic persecution in fiscal matters that is carried out against the president in an improper, unconstitutional and illegal manner,” Adrianzen told television Canal N.

A congressional committee must now debate the accusation before the whole chamber does so. Ultimately, it would be up to the courts to decide whether to put her on trial after her term ends in July 2026.

The president, who has an approval rating of 12 percent according to an Ipsos poll, does not have or lead a party in Congress, requiring her to secure backing from conservatives.

Peru suffers from chronic political instability and has had six presidents in the past eight years.

Boluarte took office in December 2022, replacing left-wing president Pedro Castillo, who was impeached and imprisoned for unsuccessfully trying to dissolve Congress. She was his vice-president.

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In 2023, prosecutors opened an investigation in which she stands accused of “genocide, homicide and serious injuries,” for the deaths of more than 50 protesters during a crackdown on demonstrations demanding she resign and call fresh elections.

TAGS: Corruption, Peru

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