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Switzerland asks Peru for help in investigating Montesinos accounts

Montesinos allegedly stashed away $50 million


Swiss justice officials have asked for Peru's help in investigating bank accounts linked to the former Peruvian spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos. The Zurich district prosecutor, Cornelia Cova, said she had asked Peru to provide more information.

Switzerland announced two weeks ago that it had frozen the assets of Montesinos, following allegations that he had stashed away $50 million (SFr88.5 million) in laundered money in Swiss bank accounts.

Cova said the money frozen in the accounts could be traced back to Peru, but there was no indication as yet of any link with the Peruvian president, Alberto Fujimori.

After revealing the existence of the accounts, Switzerland had invited Peru to make a formal request for legal assistance to obtain the details. A spokesman for the Swiss federal police said Bern had not yet received any request.

Montesinos, who is accused of crimes ranging from arms dealing and drug trafficking to torture, rose to power after Fujimori took office in 1990. He is widely considered to have been the real power behind the president, with control over the military and judiciary.

Fujimori was forced to announce he would step down and call new elections after a bribery scandal involving Montesinos broke last September.

swissinfo with agencies

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