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The BBC's Claire Marshall
"Mr Montesinos now faces a range of charges"
 real 56k

Latin American Analyist, John Crabtree
"The pressure for Fujimori's extradition to Peru increases as a result of Montesinos' capture"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 26 June, 2001, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Peru spy chief's return hailed
Vlardimiro Montesinos under arrest
Montesinos shown behind bars on Peruvian TV
Peru's president-elect Alejandro Toledo has welcomed as "great news" the capture of former spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos.

Mr Toledo, who is visiting the US ahead of taking office on 28 July, said Mr Montesinos' arrest was "a source of strength to recover morality in Peru".

Peru's scandal
14 Sept 2000: Video of Montesinos 'bribing politicians' emerges
16 Sept: Fujimori offers to resign and disband security services. Rumours of army coup
23 Sept: Montesinos flees Peru
23 Oct: Asylum refused in Panama. Montesinos returns to Peru
25 Oct: Fujimori leads search for Montesinos
29 Oct: Montesinos escapes from Peru, ends up in hiding in Venezuela
17-20 Nov: Fujimori goes to Japan after foreign trip. Faxes resignation and Congress deposes him

Mr Montesinos, arrested in Venezuela and now under police arrest in Lima, faces a long list of charges arising from his 10 years as the right-hand man of disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori.

Mr Montesinos allegedly bankrolled Peru's courts, Congress, media and military for a decade, and is accused of accumulating an illicit fortune of at least $264m.

He faces charges ranging from embezzlement to ordering death squads and could face life imprisonment.

No revenge

Mr Toledo said the question was now one for the country's justice system. "The matter of corruption - let's wait for justice to be done. I don't have a sense of revenge, of persecution," he said.

Map
Montesinos fled Peru by sea and land
The 56-year-old Mr Montesinos arrived in Lima on Monday and was immediately transferred to a cell in the Ministry of Justice.

The balding Mr Montesinos, who was wearing a beige jacket and jeans, was shown on live television being escorted by police off the plane.

His wrists were covered by a blanket and appeared to be handcuffed.

Extradition hope

The BBC's Claire Marshall, in Lima, says the news of his return has raised concern among many of his former associates, fearful of what he may now reveal.

Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori
Former president Fujimori launched a manhunt for Mr Montesinos
Mr Toledo said the arrest could improve the chances of extraditing Mr Fujimori from Japan, where he fled to last year.

"It is difficult for us to think that Japan could be a participant in favour of impunity," he said.

The Japanese Government has already indicated it will not change its position on Mr Fujimori, who is protected from extradition because he has Japanese nationality.

Miami vice

Mr Montesinos, who had been on the run for eight months, was finally captured when a former Venezuelan intelligence officer was arrested in Miami, trying to withdraw money from a $38m account belonging to the former spy chief.

As part of a plea bargain, the intelligence officer told the FBI the names of Venezuelans guarding Mr Montesinos.

Venezuelan authorities claimed four previous attempts to capture Mr Montesinos failed after people protecting him appeared to receive a tip-off.

Venezuela's Interior Minister, Luis Miquilena, said an investigation was under way to see if corrupt Venezuelan police had been protecting Mr Montesinos.

Mr Miquilena said Mr Montesinos was captured alongside two Venezuelans and without documents. He had a lot of money with him, the minister said.

Mr Montesinos became Latin America's most wanted man after fleeing Peru last October, after triggering a political crisis that toppled Mr Fujimori.

The spy chief went on the run after a video emerged of him apparently bribing opposition members of Congress.

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See also:

26 Jun 01 | Americas
How Montesinos was betrayed
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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