Prosecutors quiz Peru president over Rolex watches, others

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Peruvian President, Dina Boluarte, on Friday appeared before prosecutors for questioning over her Rolex watches, expensive jewelry and unexplained bank deposits, in a scandal that has shaken the country’s fragile government.

Boluarte spent five-and-a-half hours at the office of Attorney General Juan Carlos Villena, who had been charged with taking her statement.

Prosecutors had earlier said that she would be required to present the undeclared luxury timepieces and explain their origin as part of the probe into illegal enrichment.

According to an AFP report on Friday, the questioning comes after the police raided Boluarte’s home and presidential office on March 30 in search of the alleged collection, which is said to include at least three high-value Rolex watches, according to photographs published by local media.

Small groups of protesters gathered outside the prosecutor’s office as Boluarte gave her statement, including a group of mainly women who expressed their support for the president.

A separate group shouted: “Dina, jail awaits you!”

The government hopes Boluarte’s statement will put an end to a scandal that provoked two motions to impeach her, both defeated by the right-wing majority in Congress on Thursday.

“I presume that after this explanation there will be no choice for the prosecutor’s office but to close this investigation,” Prime Minister Gustavo Adrianzen said Thursday.

He said Boluarte “will know how to explain what happened.”

– ‘$56,000 bracelet’ –
The attorney general is also seeking an explanation for Boluarte’s possession of a “$56,000 Cartier bracelet” and other jewelry valued at more than $500,000. Bank deposits of about $250,000 from her time as a cabinet minister in 2021 and 2022 are also being investigated.

Boluarte is the sixth president in the last quarter century to face corruption charges in Peru.

She is also the sixth president the country has had in just eight years.

The media investigation which prompted the probe against her revealed she had worn various Rolex watches to official events as vice president and minister of development, before taking over in 2022 from predecessor Pedro Castillo.

Boluarte has said the watches were the fruit of hard work.

“I entered the presidential palace with clean hands and I will leave with clean hands, as I promised the Peruvian people,” Boluarte said last week, slamming the raids as “arbitrary, disproportionate and abusive.”

The president is already facing approval ratings of around 10 per cent and has had a torrid time in office since taking over from Castillo, who tried to dissolve Congress and rule by decree, leading to his arrest and impeachment.

In 2023, prosecutors opened an investigation in which she stands accused of “genocide, homicide and serious injuries,” for the death of more than 50 protesters during a crackdown on demonstrations demanding she resign and call fresh elections.


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