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The BBC's Claire Marshall in Lima
"This wave of arrests has been carried out under powerful new anti-corruption laws"
 real 28k

Sunday, 21 January, 2001, 02:19 GMT
Montesinos relatives arrested
Former security chief Vladimiro Montesinos
Montesinos has fled, but his family are still in Peru
Peruvian police have arrested four close relatives of the fugitive former head of Peru's security services, Vladimiro Montesinos.

Four retired army generals have also been arrested in a series of surprise raids, and all suspects are charged with corruption.

Mr Montesinos, a close ally of former President Alberto Fujimori, is wanted on charges ranging from money laundering to illegal arms dealing, and is believed to have fled the country, and was last reportedly sighted in Venezuela.

His wife, Maria Trinidad de Montesinos is already under house arrest.

Corruption charges

Karelia Montesinos de Cubas, the ex-police chief's sister, his daughter Silvana Montesinos Becerra, her uncle Orlando Montesinos and his wife Estela Delgado were arrested on the orders of an investigating magistrate.

They are being charged with corruption of public officials and concealment of information to the detriment of the state and the justice system, officials said.

Among the former military leaders arrested was former Interior Minister Walter Chacon.

Luis Cubas Portal, Mr Montesinos' brother-in-law, who is former commander of the Second Military Region in Lima, was also arrested.

He is charged with illegal enrichment, corruption and aiding Mr Montesinos' presumed flight from Peru.

Mr Chacon was detained by order of Judge Ricardo Nunez on charges of corrupting government employees and bribery, according to a statement from the judicial police.

Mr Chacon was appointed interior minister in July last year, but dismissed by the interim government of Valentin Paniagua, after President Fujimori was ousted in November.

A Peruvian congressional commission is investigating $80m stashed in now-frozen bank accounts abroad.

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See also:

14 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
Fujimori agrees to questioning
28 Dec 00 | Americas
Peru hunts fugitive via internet
24 Dec 00 | Americas
Peru arrests ex-spy chief's lawyer
14 Dec 00 | Americas
Missing spy chief 'has fled Peru'
12 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
Fujimori secures Japanese haven
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