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Monday, 25 June, 2001, 21:52 GMT 22:52 UK
The charges against Montesinos
Opponents of Mr Montesinos hold Peruvian flags and a poster of Mr Montesinos in front of the National Police air base in Lima
Feelings run high among opponents of Mr Montesinos
By Latin American analyst Javier Farje

Vladimiro Montesinos Torres, the once powerful spymaster behind the now disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori, is now behind bars and faces a long list of charges.

Vladimiro Montesinos before his disappearance to Venezuela
Mr Montesinos - a dreaded spymaster who once worked closely with the CIA
During his period of power, he allegedly bribed politicians, business people, media owners and army generals.

It was during his time as the head of the intelligence services that the "Colina Group" was formed - allegedly responsible for two massacres.

One of the alleged massacres was at a poor neighbourhood in Lima in 1991 in which 15 people died, and the second at a dormitory at La Cantuna University in 1992 in which one teacher and nine students were abducted and killed.

Other allegations centre on the millions of dollars which have been found in bank accounts in Panama and Switzerland.

Questions to answer

Consequently he will spend a great deal of his time answering questions and hearing charges.

These charges are also expected to include allegations that he paid bribes to the executives of terrestrial and cable television stations and various newspapers to ensure their support for the government.

He is also alleged to have committed fraud by hiring a military helicopter to the UN peace keeping forces in East Timor.

There are also claims that he defrauded the Military and Police Pension Fund and gave money to opposition members of the Peruvian parliament in order to ensure their support of the government.

Still other charges will deal with involvement in drug trafficking and the supply of weapons to "subversive movements", allegedly the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the FARC.

Life in prison

These are just a few examples of the more than 80 charges facing Mr Montesinos.

However there are only two which would bring him life in prison without the benefit of parole or early release - the massacres and the drug trafficking.

The irony is that, in order to look tough on drugs and to get support from the United States, he sponsored a law that sends drug barons to prison for the rest of their lives.

Mr Montesinos is in even more trouble because many of the incidents now under investigation were filmed by the spymaster himself.

Bulletproof vest

In one video allegedly shows Mr Montesinos giving $5,000 to the opposition MP Alberto Kuori on 17 September 2000, the scandal that was the beginning of the end of the Montesinos empire.

It turned out later that he had bribed two opposition politicians who, subtly, tried to block investigations of his activities.

However, not all Peruvians are happy with his arrest.

He knows a lot of things about a lot of people, many of whom are still active.

Hence the bulletproof vest he was wearing when he arrived in the humidity of the Peruvian capital, returned to face justice after months on the run.

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See also:

26 Oct 00 | Americas
Hunt for Peru spy chief
27 Jan 01 | Americas
Peru shocked by 'Vladi video' theft
14 Dec 00 | Americas
Missing spy chief 'has fled Peru'
25 Jun 01 | Americas
Montesinos timeline
25 Jun 01 | Media reports
Peruvian press hail 'stupendous' arrest
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