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Sunday, 17 September, 2000, 00:51 GMT 01:51 UK
OAS demands action on Peru scandal
Tape apparently shows spy chief handing over $15,000
The Organisation of American States (OAS) has urged the Peruvian Government to suspend the head of the country's secret service, who is alleged to have paid bribes to politicians.

Vladimiro Montesinos was captured on video, apparently handing over money to an opposition congressman in return for his defection to the governing party.

An OAS statement says the accusations are "of the utmost seriousness and require rapid, radical action from the government".

The United States has also expressed its concern, and there were demonstrations in the Peruvian capital, Lima, on Friday, calling for Mr Monesinos' arrest.


The 58-minute videotape at the centre of the row, which the OAS statement described as "solid evidence", was broadcast on a cable television channel on Thursday night.

Luis Alberto Kouri
Not me: Kouri denies that he took a bribe
It appears to show Mr Montesinos, the president's right-hand man, giving $15,000 in cash to Luis Alberto Kouri, a former member of the opposition Peru Posible party who recently defected to President Alberto Fujimori's Peru 2000 party.

Mr Kouri has denied that the money was a bribe, and says it was merely a loan to help him buy a truck for official business.

President Fujimori has yet to comment on the allegations.

Majority gained

The opposition sees the video as proof that Fujimori used bribes to win opposition party defectors to his side after this April elections, which left Peru 2000 with only 53 of the 120 congressional seats.

Alberto Fujimori
Fujimori has not yet commented
But by the time President Fujimori took office at the end of July, his party had almost 70 seats, thanks to defections from the opposition Peru Posible party.

Peruvian opposition parties have said they are breaking off negotiations with the government on democratic reforms, and that continued talks are conditional on the arrest of Mr Montesinos.

The Peruvian press and opposition are speculating about how the tape, apparently filmed in Mr Montesinos' office, came to fall into the hands of Fernando Olivera, president of a smaller opposition party, the Moralising Independent Front (Fim).

President Fujimori's ex-wife Susana Higuchi, now his adversary, is a member of Congress for Fim, which revealed the existence of the video late Thursday, before it was broadcast by the Canal N cable TV channel.

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See also:

15 Sep 00 | Media reports
Cash, lies and videotape shock Peru
29 Jul 00 | Americas
Peru's bubbling unrest
29 Jul 00 | Americas
From carnival to clashes
21 Jul 00 | Americas
Neighbours snub Fujimori
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