Former congressman and justice minister Aurelio Pastor was sentenced to four years in prison on Friday for influence peddling.
In 2012 Pastor offered to help Corina De La Cruz, a provincial mayor in San Martin, return to her position after the electoral board removed her for slander. According to conversations recorded by De La Cruz, Pastor asked for $16,000 to use his influence at the electoral board and public ministry to get her reinstated.
“I believe that this sentence is not just unfair but also absurd. A lawyer is being punished for simply doing his job. All this time I have had specialists analyze the conversation with Mrs. De La Cruz. We have a report from Lima’s bar association that confirms that what happened are normal acts exercised in a lawyer’s job. There is no crime here,” Pastor said in front of the courthouse this morning. “There was political pressure here. No doubt, from the government. President Humala’s government wants to have an aprista minister in jail.”
In the recordings Pastor refers to another provincial mayor who he helped reinstate. He also mentioned interest in helping a friend’s company win a $14 million water project contract in De La Cruz’s Tocache province.
Pastor represented San Martin in Peru’s congress from 2001 to 2011. He served as one of five justice ministers under Alan Garcia in 2009 and 2010.
Aurelio Pastor Valdivieso (Congreso de la Republica del Peru)