The judge who is at the center of allegations that have sparked worry of widespread judicial corruption in Peru has been detained in Spain after fleeing the Andean country.
Ex-judge César Hinostroza faces a number of corruption charges and was recently stripped of his position by Congress and barred from holding office for another 10 years.
“He’s now with Spanish police, foreign affairs agents and Peru’s police attache,” President Martín Vizcarra told local news station RPP.
The former judge will remain jailed in Spain until the country works out a possible extradition order with its Peruvian counterparts.
Hinostroza was heard months ago in a number of audio recordings where he was apparently negotiating lenient sentences and under the table deals in exchange for bribes and favoritism. In one audio tape, he is heard asking someone on the other line if he should lower the sentence for a man charged with raping an 11-year-old girl.
Although he was barred from leaving the country, an immigration official let him proceed to his flight. That immigration official has been identified as 33-year-old Yhenifferd Bustamante Moretti, according to a note from the Prosecutor’s Office, which has ordered 72 hours of preliminary detention against the official. Bustamente was immediately relieved of her duties when it was discovered that Hinostroza passed through her watch.
Government officials have said that Hinostroza left the country for Ecuador on Oct. 7.
President Vizcarra has made this judicial corruption case a focal point of his government. In December, a popular vote is set to decide long-lasting reforms meant to curb corruption and cronyism throughout Peruvian politics. His popularity has skyrocketed thanks to the zero-tolerance platform.