Fujimori Won’t Suspend Party Official on Laundering Allegations

  • Report says U.S. drug agency is investigating Fujimori ally
  • Fujimori seeking to win presidential runoff on June 5

Peruvian presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori rejected allegations her party’s general secretary is involved in money laundering and accused her political adversaries of trying to sabotage her campaign less than three weeks before the presidential runoff.

Lima-based America Television and New York-based Univision reported May 15 that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is investigating congressman Joaquin Ramirez for suspected money laundering. The reports cited a DEA informant who said he taped a 2013 conversation in which Ramirez said Fujimori gave him $15 million to be laundered.

“Since there isn’t enough evidence against Joaquin, he’s going to keep on doing his job,” Fujimori told reporters from Juliaca in the south of Peru. “In Fuerza Popular, we don’t shield anyone. The most important thing for me is that he’s cooperating with the investigations.”

In a one-lined statement on Monday, the DEA said Fujimori “is not currently, nor has been previously, under investigation.” It didn’t mention Ramirez.

A call to Ramirez’s parliamentary office seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned. The Peruvian attorney general’s office has been investigating Ramirez since 2014 for suspected money laundering. The probe seeks to establish how the former bus conductor acquired $7 million of properties and vehicles, according to La Republica newspaper.

Reputation Damage

The latest allegations were aired as Fujimori’s entered the final weeks of the presidential race in which recent polls show she’s neck and neck with Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. Peru will hold a runoff vote on June 5.

The case risks damaging her efforts to reassure voters that she’s learnt from the misdeeds of her father’s government, which collapsed in 2000 amid a corruption scandal. Alberto Fujimori’s chief adviser Vladimiro Montesinos is serving sentences for crimes including money laundering, while Fujimori himself was jailed for embezzlement, bribery and ordering death squad killings.

“It’s normal there are accusations, suspicions in the middle of a campaign,” Keiko Fujimori said. “Next week probably there’ll be a dirty war against my husband, or my brothers. Please, in these final weeks we need to talk about proposals.”

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