The former presidential adviser has reappeared on the national agenda as a result of some audios where he is heard recommending the payment of bribes to three members of the JNE to favor Fuerza Popular. In addition to his attempt to conspire against the electoral process, he has reawakened the question: where else do you keep your money?

So far, an approximate USD 30 million has been identified of the corruption of the ex-man of trust of Alberto Fujimori and his accomplices in accounts in Switzerland and Luxembourg that are pending repatriation. This is the story of these amounts resulting from bribes and embezzlement from the state coffers.

A question that from time to time the operators of the justice system who are in charge of repatriating the money that former adviser Vladimiro Montesinos had hidden in foreign accounts is: where else does he have the money? The penultimate time this question was raised was in May 2017, when Montesinos hired, in Luxembourg, the lawyer Rosario Grasso, from the firm Kleyr Grasso, to file a cassation appeal before the Supreme Court of that country and that way to prevent USD15 million that were in two ‘offshore’ that had him as a final beneficiary from being repatriated to Peru. Although the appeal was rejected, the doubt remained: the former adviser still had funds to hire a technical defense in Europe.

On June 24, this question resounded again: in a series of audios, presented by former presidential candidate Fernando Olivera, Montesinos is heard suggesting to his interlocutor, Commander EP (r) and ex-Fujimori militant Pedro Rejas Tataje, that He puts “gasoline” on him (that is, he bribes) three JNE judges so that they can decide in favor of the annulment requests presented by Fuerza Popular against 802 polling stations. The conspiracy was unsuccessful but once again he has made it clear that, twenty years after his capture, Montesinos manages or is aware of funds to make illicit payments, as in the nineties.

The money that the former adviser had hidden abroad, in fact, was crucial for the issuance, on November 6, 2000, of his arrest warrant (the complaint by the ‘vladivideos’ was filed a week after its diffusion by a Public Ministry controlled by Blanca Nélida Colán). At that time, the only thing that was known is that the former adviser had fled to Panama on September 23 through the sailboat Karisma. But on November 2 of that year, the Swiss prosecutor’s office informed Peru that accounts related to Montesinos had been detected for an approximate amount of USD 48 million.

The ‘Vladivideos’ marked the downfall of Vladimiro Montesinos in September 2000, but it was because of his money detected in Switzerland that his capture was ordered.

What had happened is that a Swiss banker decided to present a report of suspicious operations to the Financial Intelligence Unit of his country. This, after he saw on the news that the fishing entrepreneur who had been introduced to him was not that successful businessman he believed, but a presidential adviser in Peru who distributed blocks of money to opposition congressmen to join the ranks of Fujimorism. This fact meant that an investigation for money laundering in that country was opened to Montesinos. And as a result, the route of the bribes that he had tried to hide in different tax havens began to be scrutinized. Twenty years after this event, the real size of the money that Alberto Fujimori’s trusted ex-man managed to accumulate with his accomplices is still unknown.

In the first decade of 2000, Peru was able to recover more than USD 185 million from the Montesinos corruption network. Of that total, USD 77.5 million was provided by the Swiss government, USD33 million by the Cayman Islands and USD 20 million by the United States. All this, stemming from acts of corruption such as the embezzlement of the Army pension fund, the purchase of the Mig-29 aircraft and supplies after the war with Ecuador and other military weapons. At the beginning of June of this year, the Peruvian government reported that an additional USD 16 million arrived in the country from Switzerland.

A calculation made by this newspaper, after reviewing files and talking with sources linked to the asset recovery processes, shows that there is an approximate of USD 30 million from the Montesinos mafia and its operators that are pending to be repatriated. The money is frozen and they are in Switzerland and Luxembourg. It is in the latter country where the last two bank accounts known to the former advisor are located, deposited in The Blue Ridge Trust and The Hudson Trust banks, totaling about USD 15 million.

The main acts of corruption in the Montesinos network focused on military purchases and the embezzlement of the Army pension fund.  (Photo: El Comercio Archive)
The main acts of corruption in the Montesinos network focused on military purchases and the embezzlement of the Army pension fund. (Photo: El Comercio Archive)

Arms traffickers Rony Lerner and Ilan Weil Levy, members of the so-called “Los Judíos” group and holders of these two bank accounts, told the Peruvian authorities that the money in Luxembourg was actually Montesinos’s and was intended as a contingency fund to finance the campaign for the re-election of Alberto Fujimori.

To the USD 16 million that the property forfeiture prosecution has been able to repatriate this year, there are also USD 15 million that Alberto Venero, confessed Montesinos front man, had in Switzerland from the offshore Wilborn International Corp. This, after he arrived at an extrajudicial agreement with the representatives of the Public Ministry. Venero acknowledged in court that USD 4 million of those funds were from kickbacks for the purchase of 18 MIG-29 aircraft from a Belarusian state company.

In the approximately USD 30 million (the amount deposited in the bank accounts plus the interest) that remains to be repatriated, there are names of front men and money dealers such as Evgeny Ananev, Yuri Khozyainov and James Stone who triangulated the purchase of warplanes. Or the Israeli businessman Moshe Rothschild, the biggest arms dealer during the 1990s. Similarly, relatives of the former Commander General of the Navy, Antonio Ibárcena Amico.

Sources linked to the asset recovery process highlight that there is already an agreement with Switzerland so that this money from corruption continues to arrive in the country, as happened in June. However, the same is pending for Luxembourg, whose repatriation agreement has yet to be approved by its Parliament. For now, those are the amounts that Montesinos and his network had abroad. However, the question remains open: where else does this former presidential adviser have the hidden money?

For this report, this newspaper tried to communicate with Estela Valdivia, Montesinos’ lawyer, but her cell phone rang off.

Vladimiro Montesinos was the confidant of former President Alberto Fujimori, and his influence went beyond the National Intelligence Service of Peru, until on September 14, 2000, the first vladivideo was published.  Montesinos fled the country on the 23rd of that month to Panama.
Vladimiro Montesinos was the confidant of former President Alberto Fujimori, and his influence went beyond the National Intelligence Service of Peru, until on September 14, 2000, the first vladivideo was published. Montesinos fled the country on the 23rd of that month to Panama.

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