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Swiss freeze more Montesinos accounts

Exiled spy chief Montesinos, pictured in a May 2000 video urging Peru's military to support President Fujimori Keystone

The Swiss authorities say they have frozen another five bank accounts as part of investigations into Peru's former head of intelligence, Vladimiro Montesinos.

The Zurich district prosecutor in charge of the case, Cornelia Cova, said on Tuesday the accounts contained $22 million (SFr39 million). She said the accounts were held in the names of people close to Montesinos.

At the start of November, Switzerland froze four accounts linked to Montesinos containing $48 million (SFr85.4 million). Cova said much of that probably came from arms deals.

“Much of the $48 million blocked in Swiss bank accounts linked to the former Peruvian secret service leader, Vladimiro Montesinos, very likely originates from payments of commissions connected to arms transactions between Russia and Peru,” she said in a statement.

Cova said the $22 million on the new accounts that had been frozen also came from the Russian-Peruvian arms deals.

The statement said investigations were underway into whether the funds were “obtained through corruption”. It said more details had been requested from the Russian and Peruvian authorities.

The Peruvian government has also launched an investigation into the allegations, but has not yet formally asked Switzerland to provide legal assistance.

Analysts say Montesinos was the power broker behind the regime of Alberto Fujimori, who was deposed as president last week. The regime collapsed after a bribery scandal which forced Montesinos to flee Peru in September.

Montesinos returned to Peru while Fujimori was still in power, but was unable to shore up the system. He is now in hiding.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR