LIMA – A corruption network operated by officials in the northern Peruvian region of Ancash helped itself to about 320 million soles (more than $110 million) in recent years, said Congressman Mesias Guevara, chairman of the committee investigating the case.
“We can say that the corruption network in Ancash ended up with more than 320 million soles, some 329 million (soles). The task ahead is to investigate where that money is, in whose hands it ended up,” Guevara told the La Republica newspaper.
Cesar Alvarez, the then-president of Ancash’s regional government, was arrested in May and will be held for 18 months while authorities investigate the murder by hitmen of regional councilman Ezequiel Nolasco, one of the suspect’s main opponents.
Dozens of people, including officials, police officers and journalists, were detained following the arrest of Alvarez, who allegedly was the corruption network’s leader.
The money was spread out among a “network of front men,” Guevara said, adding that investigators were also looking at how the nearly 8 billion soles ($2.75 billion) taken in by municipal governments in Ancash ended up being spent and funding to mining firms totaling 1.4 billion soles ($482 million).
“You have to follow the money trail. And to do that we have asked for the lifting of bank secrecy for 120 people under investigation, their migration registration and tax records,” the congressman said.
An executive summary of the investigation will be released on Nov. 21, Guevara said.
A request for expanded investigative authority will be made to examine the possible role played by prosecutors, judicial officials, judges, police and Economy and Finance Ministry officials in the case, the congressman said.