Fujimori avoids returning to prison amid challenge to polls

Lima, Jun 21 (EFE).- Keiko Fujimori on Monday was spared from returning to prison for alleged money laundering in the middle of her campaign to overturn the result of Peru’s recent presidential election won by the leftist Pedro Castillo.

Fujimori will remain on probation, but was warned by Judge Víctor Zúñiga of the Fourth National Preparatory Investigation Court Specialized in Organized Crime and Corruption for having failed to comply with the judicial requirement not to meet with witnesses in her case.

The magistrate rejected the request of anti-corruption prosecutor José Domingo Pérez that she return to jail despite the fact that he considered she had breached the conditions of her freedom.

Among the conditions of the probation that allowed Fujimori out of jail in May 2020 after spending 15 months in pretrial detention, was that she not meet or communicate with other defendants or witnesses in the case.

However, she appeared publicly on repeated occasions during the recent electoral campaign with the lawyer and spokesman for her Popular Force party, Miguel Ángel Torres, who is included in the case as a witness.

In her eagerness to denounce what she claims is electoral fraud against her, Fujimori has also met in recent days with the lawyer and leader of the Christian People’s Party (PPC) Lourdes Flores, another witness.

However, Fujimori’s lawyer, Giulliana Loza said she could have a relationship with both of them because they are not witnesses for allegedly having made false donations to Fujimori’s party, an argument that was rejected by the judge.

For more than four years, Fujimori has been accused of money laundering in the irregular financing of her electoral campaigns for the presidency in the 2011 and 2016 elections.

According to the investigation, which has been completed but it is yet to be announced whether a trial will go ahead, Fujimori and her party hid millions in donations from large companies in fictitious accounting that contained numerous private donors.

Fujimori criticized that the prosecutor requested her return to prison the same day that she announced that he would seek the annulment of more than 200,000 votes from Andean areas where Castillo has won widely, and that she claims without proof have been the subject of fraud.

With all votes counted, Castillo is the virtual president-elect, having surpassed Fujimori by just 44,000 votes, with 50.12 percent compared to 49.87 percent for the right-wing candidate.

All electoral observation missions such as the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Union of Electoral Organizations have ruled out fraud and have not found serious irregularities.

This has been backed by an analysis of the electoral records carried out by the pollster Ipsos, which has determined that there is no evidence of “systematic fraud” at the polling stations as claimed by Fujimori. EFE


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