The Public Ministry of Peru has reopened a money laundering investigation involving former Fuerza Popular congressman Joaquín Ramírez and Fuerza popular leader Keiko Fujimori.
Ramírez, a former Congressman and General Secretary of the right-wing political party Fuerza Popular, is to face a new investigation that also implicates the Fuerza Popular leader and daughter of former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori, Keiko Fujimori.
Sara Vidal, prosecutor at the Money Laundering Office of the Ministry of Justice of Peru, had decided to close the investigation on September 22, citing a lack of evidence.
However, prosecutor Janet Briones appealed the decision, pointing out that the lack of evidence was due to delays from Ramirez’s companies to submit the required financial information. Chief prosecutor Elizabeth Peralta Santur concurred and ordered the case reopened last week.
The resolution reopening the case directs investigators to obtain an appraisal of assets belonging to the Fuerza Popular politicians, as well as to seek information relevant to the case from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), reports La República,
Among the information sought from the DEA are audio recordings of conversations between Joaquín Ramírez and a Peruvian pilot, Jesús Vásquez, who was acting as an undercover agent for the DEA in Miami.
In one of these conversations, Ramírez allegedly told Vásquez that Keiko had directed him to launder 15 million dollars left over from 2011 elections. Vásquez has stated that Ramírez is under investigation by the DEA for ties to Miguel Arévalo Ramírez, a suspected Peruvian drug-trafficker also known as ‘Eteco’.
Authorities will investigate the alleged crime in accordance with the Organized Crime Law of Peru, the Prosecutor’s Office announced. The news comes on the heels of the public prosecutors’ September announcement that Keiko Fujimori has also been implicated in the ongoing investigation into the Odebrecht scandal.
Tipped off by a note naming Keiko that was found on the phone of Odebrecht’s former CEO Marcelo Odebrecht at the time of his arrest, the opposition leader became the latest South American politician to be tied to the high profile kickback scandal.